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Was ‘Cash for Clunkers’ a Dud?

If “Cash for Clunkers” rebates were used to buy new vehicles with only marginally better fuel economy numbers, was the program a failure?

That’s the question posed by a big story zooming around the Intertoobs today: An impressive examination of last summer’s “Cash for Clunkers” program by The Associated Press. Reporters analyzed data acquired through the Freedom of Information Act and found that the most common transactions were people trading in their old pickup trucks for new ones that get only slightly better gas mileage.

An expert is quoted as saying the $3 billion program started out as being about improving the environment, “but it got detoured as a way to stimulate the economy.”

“Cash for Clunkers” apparently worked best here in California, where 76,000 cars were traded in, and where the Honda Civic was the most popular new car.

While the AP article uncovers some abuses and raises legitimate questions about the fuel economy numbers, it doesn’t address the fact that the new vehicles likely produce less pollution than the clunkers they replace. Maybe there’s no way to measure that yet.

Full story here.

  • Mark Your Calendars for next Tuesday, when the Shasta College Foundation presents renowned jazz trumpeter and composer Ralph Alessi. The FREE program in the Shasta College Theatre includes a lecture at 11 a.m. and a performance at 12:30 p.m. For more info about Alessi, click here.
  • I drove up to Burney yesterday to attend a meeting, and took full advantage of the sunny day, poking along and stopping at every vista point to enjoy the autumn leaves. Our fall color tends to be more subtle than back east, but there must’ve been a hundred shades of gold. Especially striking was the vast area burned in the Fountain Fire years ago. It’s covered with deciduous trees that are golden now.
  • Calling All Veterans: On Veterans Day, which is next Wednesday, veterans and active-duty military eat free at Applebee’s restaurants nationwide. Details here.
  • If you’re interested in crime fiction, check out this article by author and former editor Jason Pinter. Interesting insights on mysteries and on the publishing industry in general.

Tips appreciated: Send news tidbits to steveb.anewscafe@gmail.com.

Steve Brewer

is the author of CUTTHROAT and 17 other books. Read more of his columns at http://stevebrewer.blogspot.com/, or follow him on Facebook.

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