July 29, 2009 Time will tell whether or not the government's Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save program—often referred to as 'Cash for Clunkers' will pay off for consumers, the environment and the economy. It's a tall order that in theory should do all three.
The program offers vouchers ranging from$3,500 to $4,500 for a trade-in toward the purchase of a more fuel efficient vehicle. The trade-ins must be operable and new purchases must meet established guidelines for improved fuel efficiency.
A similar program has met with great success in Germany, where smaller, fuel efficient cars are commonplace.
Financially strapped consumers who drive older, less efficient vehicles still may not be able to take advantage of the CARS program—an unfortunate reality. Even with the reduced cost, many can't afford or can't qualify for a new car loan.
However, those who are in a position to consider a new vehicle purchase—one that would also decrease our dependency on foreign oil and improve the environment—should take advantage of the program. With area dealerships eager to welcome and serve customers in this economic climate, there is no better time to trade up for a newer, better vehicle.
Taxpayers have footed the bill for a wide variety of bailouts and loans and handouts these days. The CARS program—although not perfect—is finally one that can benefit consumers the most. And just maybe the boost to the present economy will make for a better environment in the future.