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Wednesday, 10 June 2009 09:49

House Passes Cash for Clunkers, Senate counters

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed House Bill 2751, The Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save (CARS) Act, sponsored by Rep. Betty Sutton, D-Ohio. This “Cash for Clunkers” bill, which passed with a margin of 298-119, aims to accelerate motor fuel savings nationwide and provide incentives to registered owners of high-polluting automobiles to replace such automobiles with new fuel efficient and less polluting automobiles. Advocates argue that this bill aims to spur new car sales in a relatively short period of time.
    Through the program, consumers may receive vouchers ranging from $3,500 to $4,500 to contribute toward a more fuel-efficient car or truck. Under H.R. 2751, newly purchased passenger cars must have a minimum fuel economy of 22 miles per gallon (mpg) to qualify for the voucher. If the new car’s fuel efficiency is improved by at least 4 mpg, the consumer will receive a $3,500 voucher; and if the new car’s fuel efficiency is improved by at least 10 mpg, the consumer will receive a $4,500 voucher. Eligibility requirements will be determined by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
            H.R. 2751 excludes a repair option, which was supported by the Automotive Service Association (ASA). A fleet modernization program without a repair option could be harmful to independent repairers. Arbitrarily removing older vehicles from America’s highways would take vehicles out of independent repair bays, costing service orders and jobs. The repair option would have also allowed low-income vehicle owners who don’t have the resources for a new vehicle to now have a dependable, lower-emission vehicle.
            House leaders hope to tie the Cash for Clunkers language on the Supplemental Appropriations legislation for Iraq and Afghanistan.
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