The PJ Tatler

Great News: Obama's Cash for Clunkers Actually Hurt the Environment

When you have an administration run by pinheads who haven’t spent much time outside government, you get things like Cash for Clunkers.

According to E Magazine, the “Clunkers” program, which is officially known as the Car Allowance Rebates System (CARS), produced tons of unnecessary waste while doing little to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The program’s first mistake seems to have been its focus on car shredding, instead of car recycling. With 690,000 vehicles traded in, that’s a pretty big mistake.

According to the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA), automobiles are almost completely recyclable, down to their engine oil and brake fluid. But many of the “Cash for Clunkers” cars were never sent to recycling facilities. The agency reports that the cars’ engines were instead destroyed by federal mandate, in order to prevent dealers from illicitly reselling the vehicles later.

The remaining parts of each car could then be put up for auction, but program guidelines also required that after 180 days, no matter how much of the car was left, the parts woud be sent to a junkyard and shredded.

Shredding vehicles results in its own environmental nightmare. For each ton of metal produced by a shredding facility, roughly 500 pounds of “shredding residue” is also produced, which includes polyurethane foams, metal oxides, glass and dirt. All totaled, about 4.5 million tons of that residue is already produced on average every year. Where does it go? Right into a landfill.

Meanwhile, of the 250 million cars on America’s roads, Cash for Clunkers swapped just 690,000. Of those, many were relatively young and fuel efficient, so we didn’t save all that much gasoline.

Even better, Cash for Clunkers drove used car prices up by shrinking the market. So it hurt the environment and it hurt people who usually buy used at the lower end of the market. Hint: They’re not rich.