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And the article tells us that 690,000 cars traded in out of 250,000,000 registered cars implies little impact to polution. (Well . . . it is true that this is a small percentage of the registered vehicles. Of course the vehicles taken off the road were among the lowest mpg vehicles onthe road and the program did achieve a 61% improvement in efficiency for the trades. I'm not sure what to make of this criticism. Are the critics suggesting the program should have been bigger?)

Finally, the article tells us that the program created a dearth of used cars, driving up prices, leaving people without affordable transportation and putting used car dealers out of business. (phttttt . . . I have no idea how to quantify such wild claims and niether did the people making them. But, we now know of one demographic group other than the ultra-wealthy that teabaggers support - used car dealers. I guess somebody has to love them.)

Good analysis. You hit the all the points, but there are still some other gaping problems. For example:

The engine itself takes the most amount of energy and resources to manufacture, so car companies reap both an environmental and cost benefit from being able to recycle engine parts.

Many of the cars that were traded in during Cash for Clunkers were perfectly functioning cars in good condition, and excellent candidates to have their engines and other parts recycled. With the engine destroyed, many clunkers bypassed the recycling companies and went straight to junkyards to be crushed and shredded.

Obviously, "many" isn't a number. CARS did require that the engines be destroyed by replacing the oil with sodium silicate. But that just trashes the block and the cylinders, and I'm pretty sure the scrap value of the much steel is worth salvaging to a recycler (as opposed to landfilling). Other parts like the transmission, alternator, AC compressors, etc. etc. and can still be salvaged and rebuilt or sold as used.

Also worth pointing out that if the price of used cars was driven up as the Teabaggers claim, then everyone who owns a used car (which is everybody who owns a car period) saw the value of their asset increase. Increasing the net worth of every car owner in America can't be all bad, can it?

This bit struck me as odd as well:

The clunkers averaged 15.8 mpg, compared with the 25.4 mph for new vehicles being purchased, for an average fuel-economy increase of 61%. In general, drivers traded in inefficient SUVs and trucks for more efficient passenger cars. However, it’s quite easy to negate this small difference in gas mileage purely by the fact that people will be more likely to drive a vehicle that takes less money to fill up with gas.

MPG is "miles per gallon" so in order to wipe out the efficiency gain, everyone would have to travel 61% more miles to consume the same number gallons. That's completely implausible. Everyone's commute remains the same and grocery store is the same distance away.
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