The Politburo of the United States, which used to be known as the U.S. House of Representatives, yesterday passed a bill which, according to the Associated Press, "Provides vouchers of up to $4,500 for consumers who turn in their gas-guzzling cars and trucks for more fuel-efficient vehicles."
I try to be as much like Members of Congress as possible, so I have not read this bill prior to my proclaiming my opposition to it.
The way this thing will work is, if you have a car which gets 18 miles per gallon or less, and you trade it in on a car which gets 22 miles per gallon or more you will receive a voucher from your government in the amount of $3,500. If you trade in a gas guzzler for one which has a fuel efficiency rating of 10 mph more, then the voucher grows to $4,500.
For SUVs, minivans, and light trucks the deal is a little sweeter. If your particular Hummer gets 18 MPH or less and you trade it in on a vehicle which gets just two mile per gallon more, you will qualify for the $3,500 coupon. If the new truck gets FIVE miles more per gallon, you get the full $4,500.
According to the article, the miles per gallon figures are listed on the window sticker.
First of all you can't take your … just let's say you have - to pick a vehicle out of thin air - a 1999 green Land Rover Discovery with about 140,000 miles and which gets, when it's running at all, maybe 12 miles per gallon and take it to the Obama Motors dealer near you to trade it in and make a deal for a 2009 pre-Obama Cadillac Escalade ESV which retails for about $88,000.
And then when you make the deal for the Escalade suddenly whip out your $4,500 voucher with a flourish and say "and here's the first month's payment!"
No. Doesn't work that way. If you present a voucher for your old car, truck, bus, or trolley that's all you get. The idea is that no one will trade in a vehicle on a voucher which is later than about 1984 because they can get more in a straight-trade. The dealer is supposed to take the voucher and your piece of you-know-what and send it to be scrapped.
Right. Who doesn't believe that a secondary market for crapola-mobiles will spring up to take these rust-buckets off the hands of dealers and immediately ship them (under the soon to be revised trade rules) to Havana where a steady stream of 25-year-old Buicks and Oldsmobiles will replace the Cuban national supply of 50-year-old Packards and DeSotos.
On the eve of the GM bankruptcy filing an enterprising reporter called around to some big New York ad agencies and asked, "If you were pitching the GM account, what would be your suggested slogan?"
My favorite was: "You own the company. Why not drive the car?"