Why You Shouldn't Support Clunker Bills
From the Arizona Automobile Hobbyist Council ("United We Drive, Divided We Park")
- Scrappage laws (aka "clunker bills") and pollution taxes discriminate against a car simply based on it's age. Maintenance is the key to a clean-burning car, not its age.
- Those people who drive cars worth only $700 usually have no choice because of their economic status. Adding a pollution tax simply makes for a greater hardship.
- Scrappage laws and pollution taxes tend to be promoted by -- and/or funded by -- the petroleum industry, which is looking for ways to delay expensive improvements to its own refineries.
- The "cash for clunkers" programs are a farce because they suggest that oil companies are doing "good will" by cleaning up the air. They're not. (See #3)
- Offering an individual $500-$700 for his older car is no guarantee that he will go out and buy a cleaner-burning car because A) He most likely doesn't have the extra money to pay for it and B) low interest loans, while a nice gesture, still require some income that the owner just doesn't have. A smarter solution? Pay them to bring their current car in line with emissions standards.
- Scrappage laws are a possible solution when a stringent emissions plan is absent. Arizona taxpayers are absorbing the high cost of the I/M-240 and the Smog Dogs to catch polluters. If these programs are in force and working properly, why should we need a plan to take the high polluting cars off the road?
- Scrappage laws hurt the used-car parts dealers and scrap yards who lose an opportunity to recycle automotive parts.
- Scrappage laws make vast, unproven assumptions about the reduction in mobile pollutants. We have no data to show how much pollution a scrappage program could remove from the air.
- Scrappage laws and pollution taxes often are implemented as a scapegoat to help focus attention away from tackling problems created by larger sources of pollution -- commercial transport and industry -- and from the need to make the large but necessary investment into mass transit.
- Scrappage laws can significantly impact the survival of the automotive heritage of this country -- and will accomplish little but hurt the working poor and give powerful industry an easy break from meeting their own responsibilities.