Thursday, July 23, 2009

Handouts for Hummers

When good ideas go bad.

In January, we joined with Sen. Charles Schumer to introduce a bill that would allow Americans to trade in gas-guzzling cars in exchange for vouchers worth up to $4,500 toward the purchase of vehicles with greatly improved fuel economy.


Our “Cash for Clunkers” proposal was a win-win for the environment and the economy. Then Detroit auto industry lobbyists got involved. Soon a rival bill emerged in the House, tailored perfectly to the auto industry’s specifications.


On Tuesday, the House approved this legislation, which would subsidize the purchase of a new Hummer H3T (16 mpg) or a new Dodge Ram 1500 4×4 truck (15 mpg), but not a two-year-old Ford Focus (27 mpg) or used Chevy Colorado (20 mpg). A companion bill is pending in the Senate.


These bills are expertly designed to provide Detroit one last windfall in selling off gas guzzlers currently sitting on dealer lots because they’re not a smart buy.


So Americans need to make their voices heard, before Congress spends billions of dollars to put more gas guzzlers on the road at the behest of the auto industry.

  Climate Progress

So you can get a federal subsidy to trade in your 14mpg Hummer for a new 16mpg one. As long as the price of gasoline is kept below $4 - or some other number - per gallon, people will still buy Hummers. And the government and oil industries will most certainly find that magic number and find ways to make sure gas prices conform. And, call me pessimistic, but I don’t think “American voices” are going to be heard in Washington over the voices of auto industry lobbyists.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

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