We may all live in a great big global community, but in my Blog, it's my world.

Yet another opportunity for Congress to really stimulate the U.S. economy and achieve long lasting positive change -- how about putting some effort into offering customers that are trying to unload gas guzzling SUVs and large pick-up trucks some financial incentives that will help soften the blow that those drivers would be facing if they trade in those guzzlers?

As an example, see the news article here: Frustrated owners try to unload their guzzlers

I'm not going to clip any of that article becuase in reality the headline basically tells the story, and/or you've probably already heard, as I heard today, anecdotes from friends, neighbors, co-workers and the like that tell tales of car dealers that just won't even take the old gas guzzlers in trade, in effect trapping customers in their old vehicles (if they aren't paid off) or leaving them with so little value in trade that the customers just can't afford to buy the new econo-box that they want (because it would allow them to use less gas).

I'm not a big fan of government handouts, and really don't like redistribution of wealth, especially not to help correct mistakes that were made with plenty of thought, or at least should have been made with plenty of thought behind them.  As an example, one would have to be a near complete idiot not to understand that a big SUV or pick-up truck isn't going to burn gas at 2 or 3 times the rate of a little econo-box (if not worse).  The stickers on the vehicles tell customers what the anticipated MPG is for a vehicle, there are plenty of sites on the web to find the info from, and oh yeah, Consumer Reports and other magazines also pass on that info, so buyers of the SUVs and large trucks can't say they didn't know what the impact of their purchase of such vehicles was going to be.  What they can, however, claim is that they had no idea that gasoline would become so expensive in such a short period of time.

Well, in reality those people caused a lot of the price increase thanks to their over-use of a resource that is depleting too quickly and is found mostly in other countries that would like to charge us as much as possible for the product.  They may not have seen the consequences of their purchases, but they were certainly contributors to the results they now are facing.  Still, for the greater good, I think perhaps we are at a place where the government should get involved and help level the playing field for people that are trying to make the effort to do the right thing and get out of the gas guzzlers and into more sensible vehicles.  Vehicles that put less stress on the roadways and use less fuel and oh, yeah, by the way likely produce less greenhouse gases.

We have handed out credits for purchases of hybrid vehicles in the past, and I would say we need to do it again now, though not just for hybrid vehicles.  Lets offer contributions from the government for any vehicle that is rated at 35 MPG or more, whether hybrid or not.  To be fair offer contributions direct at the dealerships based on the applicants AGI (adjusted gross income) in the prior tax year with more contribution going to those at the lower end of the income scale and less to those that are well off and can afford to recover from their own mistakes.

Further, have the government offer financial incentives to recycle those old gas guzzlers back to the recycling industry so we can get the big beasts off the lots of the car dealerships (as those dealers are currently laden with inventory of vehicles for which there is literally no demand).

After the fact, the more of these gas guzzlers we take off the roads the better off we'll be.  Having equivalent sized vehicles on the roads means generally safer roads as we don't have to worry about small cars going up against big SUVs.  It also lessens wear and tear on the road surfaces and again helps wean the U.S.A. away from it's dependence upon petroleum products (most of which come from foreign sources).  Potentially saving everyone a lot of money as gasoline usage goes down and oil companies are left with a glut of product that there isn't enough demand for.

Lets apply some common sense and put some effort into real, long-term, positive change.


Comments
on May 06, 2008
SUVs are not cheap. If they could afford to buy one, they do not need incentives or hand outs. They just write it off as a bad investment decision.

No Subsidies! It will be abused.
on May 06, 2008

SUVs are not cheap. If they could afford to buy one, they do not need incentives or hand outs. They just write it off as a bad investment decision.

Normally I'd agree with you, but...

My nephew bought a new truck not long ago.  He works with his father who does landscaping and yard work so there are times when he probably should be driving such a vehicle.  A few times.  The rest of the time he should be driving around in an econo box.  Unfortunately he makes just enough money to pay payments on a truck, assuming he isn't paying a ton of money for gasoline to drive around when he's not working.  When working he can claim the gas as an expense and get compensated for it and/or the mileage.

What does he do to get out of the truck and into something a good bit smaller (like say a Dodge Caliber or similar utilitarian vehicle that gets reasonable gas mileage)?

Assuming that people that are driving around in SUVs could afford them and should be stuck with them doesn't help people like myself over the last few years.  I did take it upon myself to dump the used SUV I was driving and get something smaller but I'm now paying a much higher payment because I'm upside down carrying the debt from the earlier vehicle.

Do we really want to stick people with the costs of older gas guzzlers or do we perhaps eat a little pride and accept that some people may need help getting themselves into more responsible vehicles?  Personally I'd have been pretty happy to see all of the stimulus payment money go towards down payments for econo boxes for anyone that would have traded away their old vehicles.  It would have been a very wise investment as compared to the purchase of a bunch of LCD TVs, video game systems, Blu-ray discs, vacations and other things that won't have near the lasting positive effect on the economy, on the environment, and on society in general.

on May 07, 2008
What does he do to get out of the truck and into something a good bit smaller (like say a Dodge Caliber or similar utilitarian vehicle that gets reasonable gas mileage)?


Write it off to a bad decision. It is NOT the government's duty or responsibility to protect us from our stupid decisions. Or to baby us when a storm rains on our picnic. Sadly, that is what we have become. A bunch of babies that look to Uncle Sam or Aunt Ginny to kiss our bobo when we fall down and get scratched.

I know that is happening, but I do not have to support it or like it. And I will rail against it at every turn.
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