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Subject:  Re: cahs for clunkers - disaster of a program Date:  1/6/2013  6:40 PM
Author:  salaryguru Number:  47222 of 87006

I really don't know how to grade the CARS (or Cash for Clunkers) program as far as it's success or failure, but this is the latest right wing echo chamber nonsense. I think it started with Breitbart and shows up in all of the regular brain-dead teabagger circles. I do know that this article is very misleading and, in places, non-factual. Let's look at the claims one-by-one. I place my comments, corrections and actual data in parenthesis after each claim from the article.

The article starts off telling us that CARS produced tons of unnecessary waste (I'm not sure what this means or how to evaluate it. Is there something known as "necessary waste"? How much of this "unnecessary waste" would have been produced [immediately or eventually] in the absense of CARS? The article definitely overestimates this in every statement it makes.)

The program . . . did little to curb greenhousee gas emissions (This is probably true, but it had a positive impact that was established by the guidelines of the program. People could trade in cars with 18 mpg or less for cars with at least 4 mpg better gas mileage. So, in every case we exchanged old cars with low mpg for more efficient one - in every case. The actual gains were quantified by the EPA and I will provide that data later in this post.)

The article states that "autos are almost completely recyclable". (hmmmm. . . everything is 100% recyclable. But many things cost more to recycle than the end product is worth or cost more to recycle than it costs to gain that material from another source. Although cars are also completely recyclable, actual recycling of automobile parts is not currently done for 100% of the car and probably won't be for many years, if ever. Only about 65% to 70% of cars that reach end of life today are recycled and only up to about 75% of the recycled cars is actually recycled. This means that under best case conditions today, only about 50% of end-of-life automobile material ends up recycled. )

The article states that many Cars for clunkers were never sent to recycling facilities (many isn't a number. How many is important or this is just BS. The program provided for cars to be sent to recycling facilities for 180 days. Everything that could be recycled in that period of time was available for recycling. The government allowed the free market to determine how much opportunity to take of this 180 days and they made that choice. I looked for any kind of estimate about how much recycling of CARS trade-ins actually got recycled without success. So I don't know how much recycling actually got done, but I do know that car dealers had the option to recycle for 180 days before shredding.)

shredding facilities produce about 500 pounds of shredding residue for every ton of metal . . . (so if we assume that not one single CARS clunker had one single item recycled on it in 180 days, then 690,000 cars at an average of 4000 lbs per car would produce 3.45 million tons of residue. But from the previous analysis, we also know that half of that residue would have exis