'Cash for Clunkers' Plan Hits Skids With Auto Experts

Critics call green scheme misguided, too narrow
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2009 5:00 PM CDT
In this Jan. 17, 2007 file photo, A Ford plug-in hybrid Edge cruises on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 17, 2007.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
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(Newser) – “Cash for Clunkers,” a congressional effort to remove older, gas-guzzling cars from the road, is gaining traction on Capitol Hill, but remains controversial elsewhere, MSNBC reports. The plan would offer drivers a $4,500 voucher toward new, fuel-efficient cars in exchange for trading in their environmentally unfriendly vehicles. “There are more effective policies out there,” said one expert.

Such schemes have worked in Europe, but critics call the American version, which would apply to fewer than 5% of vehicles, too narrow. “The marginal benefit of participating in the program is less than clear,” one report concluded. The expert suggested lawmakers instead raise fuel economy standards, increase gas taxes, or develop low-carbon alternative fuels.