May 21st, 2009
It’s been a busy week for Cash for Clunkers legislation in Congress. Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio) introduced an amendment to the Waxman-Markey Energy and Climate bill that included a Cash for Clunkers-type program. Worked up as a compromise between two different House of Representatives bills, Sutton’s amendment requires new vehicles purchased under the program to get at least four miles per gallon better than the old car or truck being turned it. What’s more, the Clunkers must get 18 mpg or worse. According to The Washington Independent, under Sutton’s amendment it’s possible for someone to get a $3,500 voucher for a car or truck that gets 22 mpg. The legislation passed through the House of Representatives yesterday afternoon.
Environmentalists aren’t exactly happy with the amendment, saying the fuel-economy standards are too weak to do any good on climate change. No one’s debating the likely stimulus in auto sales, but a new bill has emerged from the Senate to address the problems in the House bill.
Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) all sponsored a bill that would operate on a sliding scale. In the Senate’s version, a Clunker is defined as any vehicle that gets 17 mpg or worse, and the new car must get at least 24 mpg. If you turn in your old vehicle for a 7 mpg improvement, you’re eligible for a $3,500 voucher. The sliding-scale system means that the maximum allowable voucher is $4,500 for a 13 mpg fuel-economy improvement. That means we can look forward to plenty of compromises if and when the legislation passes the Senate. [Source: TheWashingtonIndependent]