Trucks, SUV’s and even Hummers Sold Under Cash for Clunkers
The poster child of gas guzzlers, the Hummer, was among the vehicles purchased under the taxpayer funded Cash for Clunkers program.
Of the nearly 700,000 vehicles sold under the program, more than 32,000 of those were Chevy Silverado and Ford F-150 pickup trucks. 15 Hummer H3T four-wheel-drive vehicles were also purchased as part of the Cash for Clunkers program.
For consumers to receive the federal rebates of up to $4,500, the new vehicle they were purchasing had to have a better average miles per gallon than the old car they were trading in. In order to purchase a new SUV, minivan or pickup truck, the difference required was 2 miles per gallon. For passenger cars it needed to be at least 4 miles per gallon better.
The fifth most purchased vehicle was the Ford Escape, with 21,894 being sold. Honda’s SUV’s also did remarkably well, with upwards of 20,000 of their CR-V crossover models being purchased.
While the number of SUV’s, and other vehicles generally considered to be gas guzzlers, only made up a fraction of the total amount sold as part of the Clunkers program , it puts a stain on a program that was touted by the Transportation Department as having brought about vast improvements in fuel efficiency.
The Hummer, the poster child of heavy gas guzzling vehicles, is the most ironic of the lot, even considering the very few that were sold.
According to some consumer experts, the Cash for Clunkers plan was faulty to begin with in terms of helping the environment and conserving fuel. They contend that the nearly $3 billion of taxpayer money could have been much better spent elsewhere.
The cost to U.S. taxpayers came to more than $4,000 per car for each of the 700,000 vehicles sold in the program.
“For that much money, we could have gotten a lot more,” says Lisa Margonelli, who directs the New America Foundation’s Energy Productivity Initiative. “Consider this: Cash for Clunkers only required a fuel economy increase of 2 mpg over the original car, so the total mandated gas savings was about 38 million gallons of gas. The auto companies can raise the fuel economy of cars on the assembly line by that much at a cost of $500 per vehicle. So, we could have given our $2.87 billion to the auto companies to upgrade 5.5 million cars by 2 mpg or more, and bought ourselves a yearly fuel savings of 303 million gallons of gas.”
“If we’d made only cars getting 32 mpg or more eligible for the loans we could have saved 855 million gallons of gasoline a year. Much much more than 38 million,” she said.
A recent survey conducted by CNW Research, a firm specializing in automotive marketing research, revealed that more than 17 percent of new-vehicle customers who participated in the Cash for Clunkers program now harbor “some” doubt or “serious” doubt about letting a government subsidy convince them to go further into debt.
Be sure to purchase minimum coverage auto insurance if you own a vehicle.