Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cash for Clunkers Data Secret: No Clunker Transparency

The "enormously successful" Cash for Clunkers program, also known as "CARS," cannot be confirmed as "successful," even a little bit, let alone "enormously" because the Obama administration will not reveal the numbers. There is no Clunker transparency.

Cash for Clunkers
The White House says the program is wildly popular after $1 billion of taxpayer money was used to provide cash rebates to clunker sellers as they turned in their autos with grievous gas mileage and purchased a nice car from ailing auto dealers, known as a clunker buyer, with a $4500 subsidy from the government. In one week the $1 billion was gone - thus, the wildly popular program. President Obama wants another $2 billion to fund the unloading of gas guzzling clunkers. However, there is no way to substantiate the bottom-line of the program. The Department of Transportation says it has the details on 157,000 "rebate requests," from dealers (clunker buyers) who floated the $4500 advance to the clunker seller. Obama is asking Congress for the additional $1 billion with no confirmation of the true details of the program. This from AutoBlog:
...the Obama Administration is reportedly now refusing to release C.A.R.S. records on the 157,000 rebate requests that it has received thus far. The Department of Transportation is still saying it will make this information available "soon," but hasn't given any specific time at to when it will do so. Without a glimpse into the full details of which cars are being sold and which are being traded in – and where all of this is happening – it won't be truly clear to see who is winning and who is losing with the initiative. We have some ideas, of course, but we'd like to see the big picture already.
Hyundai claims that gas mileage on the roads will improve by 60 percent once the clunkers are off the streets - due in part to "83 percent of the vehicles being traded in are trucks, SUVs or vans and 86 percent of the new vehicles being bought are passenger cars."
If these numbers indicate how CARS shoppers will continue to buy new vehicles for the life of the program, Hyundai believes that, annually, the U.S. will reduce fuel use by 69 million gallons, save $170 Million in fuel costs and reduce CO2 emissions by 600,000 metric tons thanks to the legislation.
If 157,000 clunkers have been purchased at $4,500 each (and there is an option for only a $3,500 rebate) then the taxpayers has spent about $708 million or less, with about $50+ million in administrative costs, leaving about $250 million languishing somewhere. Forget that the program may be successful. Let us stand on principle and allot no more money until the facts are known, including knowing when and if the dealers have been reimbursed. Photo credit: AutoBlog

©2007-2012copyrightMaggie M. Thornton