This is truly one of the best, if not THE BEST, single programs included in the federal stimulus package. The CARS, or "Cash for Clunkers", program has been wildly successful as people have raced to their nearest car dealerships to turn in old duds for new, fuel-efficient vehicles.
And fortunately this morning, the Senate has just approved the program's expansion.
Heavy demand is already leading to scattered shortages of some hot-selling vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius, Ford Focus and Dodge Caliber. Chrysler Group and General Motors Co., which shut down many of their factories for several weeks this summer to save money and reduce inventories, have been particularly affected.
"Business had slowed so much that a lot of dealers had reduced their inventories because it was expensive to hold on to," said Jerry Key, general manager at Capistrano Ford. "But now that we've had this surge in business, there's going to be holes in the inventory."
The prospect of $3,500 to $4,500 in government cash to trade in a gas guzzler for a more fuel-efficient vehicle has had customers jamming showrooms in Southern California and nationwide since the program began July 24. Now, the Obama administration said, the money should last through Labor Day. [...]
"This is the first piece of legislation Congress has hit out of the park in terms of something that can help the average person like us," said Evin Grant, a 32-year-old filmmaker who was doing a clunker deal at Toyota of Hollywood as the Senate vote was tallied.
"It's a triple threat: It helps out the economy, it helps consumers like us get into a vehicle we wanted but had no easy path to earlier, and it helps the environment by getting horrible gas guzzlers off the road," Grant said.
Thank goodness! This is what the stimulus is supposed to be: a timely infusion of cash to help improve consumer demand. I'm quite glad that this program can continue.
And even better, this also serves another purpose. This also helps consumers in buying more fuel-efficient cars that are better for the environment. And not only are we saving green, but we're being more green as well. Now this is a real "win-win" that we can be thankful for.