One very bad piece of legislation that has the support of some environmentalists as well as the American automobile industry is an outrageous proposed $8 billion dollar program that would give cash vouchers of between $2,500 to $4,500 for owners of some later model SUVs that are not as fuel efficient as the latest models produced by Detroit to turn in their trucks to be crushed into scrap. This bill, S.247 could find it's way into the economic stimulus bill considered by the senate unless the public acts. In the house, car collector organizations such as SEMA and SAN, contacted Speaker Of The House Nancy Pelosi's office and managed to get this legislation removed from the house version of the economic stimulus bill.
This legislation could take as many as four million later model SUVs off the streets such as Chevy Blazers, Chevy Silverados, Chevy S-10s, Chevy Tahoes, Dodge Dakotas, Dodge Rams, Ford Explorers, Ford F-Series, Jeep Cherokees, Jeep Wranglers and other American produced truck that gets less than 18 miles per gallon average fuel economy.
Certainly the American auto industry is in a very difficult situation right now. But seeking to destroy millions of perfectly good running used trucks for the sake of selling newer models to the public is a very poor way to prop their sagging industry up. A large part of the problem with Detroit is that the banks have tightened up credit so much recently that it is very hard for many persons, even with very good credit to get a loan to buy a new car or truck right now. And some large credit companies, such as GE, which makes many vehicle loans, has recently lowered the credit amounts of many borrowers, probably largely due to the serious financial problems that this large credit business has been facing recently more than the actual credit risk of many borrowers.
The fact of the matter is that large trucks fit into a unique class of vehicles in American society and should be allowed to serve out their lives like any other motor vehicle. Trucks are purchased by business to haul tools or supplies, or even by small operators such as lawn maintenance men. And larger families count on trucks to transport their families in safety since fewer large station wagons are produced nowadays. At one time station wagons with three rows of seats were produced in the U.S., but now only the SUV type vehicles use three seats.
And another problem is that with millions less of certain trucks on the road, used truck prices will skyrocket making used trucks less affordable to lower income person who rely on a truck for a small business or for a poor family. There will also be millions less used parts available from vehicle wrecking yards as well. Many used trucks can have a long life when they are repaired using used parts. Some vehicles such as Jeeps often suffer suspension parts damage when they are off-roaded, and cheap used parts will often quickly and cheaply replace damaged parts problems.
Not only will collectors and car enthusiasts nationwide be harmed by less older vehicles around for parts or customizing work, but some charities such as Father Joe, The Salvation Army, The Goodwill or many other organizations which count on used vehicle donations could suffer the loss of millions in revenue that could be used to help the poor, disabled or those in drug or alcohol recovery.
There is also an irrational reasoning that somehow the carbon footprint might be somehow reduced by destroying an older less fuel efficient truck. What is missing from this line of flawed reasoning is that it will take a great deal of energy to produce an entirely new vehicle by an automobile company creating great pollution as well as use of mineral resourses and mining and chemicals. Producing an entirely new vehicle will mean significant air and water pollution, sometimes only to gain a slight improvement in overall fuel mileage. And since much of the oil used in the U.S. is imported anyway, existing vehicles used in the U.S. aren't worsening any local pollution problems by very much because as older trucks wear out they are replaced anyway. And all later trucks have pretty good air pollution control systems as well.
In the past a number of American states have considered some vehicle scrappage legislation. But these proposed laws were not cost effective and did significantly reduce pollution problems or achieve their desired goals. All of these proposals were abandoned because they were bad ideas based on bad reasoning.
A coalition of environmentalists as well as automobile companies might well attempt to add S.247 to the financial stimulus bill. But this bill is neither cost effective, nor achieves desirable goals. It is merely a waste of money that will be harmful to many lower income persons, small businesses as well truck collectors, etc. It is a piece of bad legislation that deserves to be put to rest.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!