'Cash for Clunkers' Polluted America: Report
Federal program left millions of tons of waste in junkyards
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2013 6:00 PM CST
In this Aug. 6, 2009 photo, a crane lifts a flattened car to a shredder at Gershow Recycling Corp. in Medford, NY.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

(Newser) – "Cash for Clunkers" made America cleaner, right? Not according to a report that says the scrapping of old vehicles left a shocking amount of twisted metal in junkyards—some 3 million to 4.5 million tons of waste, RawStory reports. The feds touted the program as pro-green because Americans were turning in low-mpg vehicles for fuel-efficient ones that would pollute less. But here's the problem: Old engines had to be destroyed rather than recycled so they could never end up on the road again, reports EMagazine.

With the engine and drive train destroyed, these 690,000 vehicles—many of them SUVs and trucks—were sent to parts dealers to be stripped by professionals or picked at by parts-buyers. Then they had to be shredded or crushed within 180 days, regardless of how many parts were left over. In the end, Americans who took part in the program did buy vehicles averaging 25.4mpg rather than 15.8mpg—but "that is a negligible difference in overall greenhouse gas emissions," reports EMagazine. See the full article.

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Showing 3 of 24 comments
Feb 15, 2013 10:51 PM CST
Is the "Green"section" ever updated?
Jan 29, 2013 11:35 AM CST
Duh, metal can be melted and recycled. If the junk yard stop trying to get top dollar I'm sure many manufactures will buy it and reuse it.
Jan 10, 2013 10:28 AM CST
I would like to know the numbers on how many of those new vehicles have been repossed because the people that bought them couldn't afford them in the first place. You know, like when the clinton administration forced the banks to make loans to people that had no chance of paying them back. Just another feel good idea that ends up screwing the wage earners of this once great country. Also, for all you tree huggers out there , a Prius is more damaging to the environment over it's lifetime than a Hummer. Another little tidbit that you choose to ignore.