Monday, August 10, 2009

Every barbecue has its winners and losers


"Cash for clunkers" will live on, but shoppers in the weeks ahead may have a hard time finding that fuel-efficient ride they've been craving since the program got underway.

The Senate voted 60 to 37 to approve $2 billion in additional funding Thursday, ending a weeklong scramble to keep the popular auto rebate initiative from running out of money. That could subsidize the purchase of half a million vehicles and provide a further boost to the sagging auto industry. […]

The prospect of $3,500 to $4,500 in government cash to trade in a gas guzzler for a more fuel-efficient vehicle has had customers jamming showrooms in Southern California and nationwide since the program began July 24. Now, the Obama administration said, the money should last through Labor Day.

That has consumers cheering.


Some auto recyclers are particularly incensed with provisions that limit the ability of the yards to recycle parts from the vehicle.

“There’s a mixed feeling out there among auto recyclers,” said Jennifer Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Automotive Recyclers Association. Under the law, the engine of each "clunker" must be destroyed by a process that involves pouring sodium silicate, known as liquid glass, into it until it ceases to operate.

In addition the drive train cannot be sold without being disassembled. Those two parts typically yield 60 percent of the profit from a recycled vehicle.


Vehicles already were lined up for one of the weekly auto auctions benefiting Texans Can, a charity that helps at-risk teenagers and their families, when prospective donors started to call, saying they had changed their minds.

"They said they went ahead and traded it in for the 'cash-for-clunkers' program," said Cheryl Rios, vice president of the Dallas-based charity that serves as many as 6,000 students. She estimates Texas Can already has lost $75,000 to the federal program.

While "cash-for-clunkers" has been a huge hit with car buyers looking to snap up rebates of up to $4,500 for trading in gas-guzzlers for new fuel-efficient cars, some charities that rely on vehicle donations for funding say they're receiving fewer cars and trucks.

(Hat tip to Doctor TV.)

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