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Cash For Clunkers

Might be too little, too late for Detroit, but it is a neat idea anyhow. That is, if you think we need more cars on the road.

Members of the U.S. Congress are working on a new bill to provide incentives for drivers to trade in older vehicles for newer, more fuel-efficient cars, hoping that the recent success of a program in Germany will give the program new momentum, a House Democratic aide said Tuesday.
The so-called "Cash for Clunkers" program is currently being drafted in Congress, the aide said. A similar proposal gained some momentum in Congress earlier this year but ultimately didn't get the green light from Congress.

We're betting this one will get the green light, so to speak. But should it? For a country so suddenly green conscious, it seems that we are awfully anxious to start subsidizing automobile ownership. Improving the "national fleet" EPA by 10% (which seems a difficult goal) would be rather expensive, and of limited utility in the end. Surely someone has done the "remaining years in lifetime" v. "fuel savings over life of new car" calculation somewhere, but I'm curious to know where the break-even numbers are.
US Lawmakers Drafting 'Cash For Clunkers' Auto Bill - Aide [The Wall Street Journal]