The so-called “Cash for Clunkers” bill has been passed by House Democrats, but now it is revving up to jump another hurdle – the Senate. This new bill proposed by the Obama administration would give consumers a voucher worth up to $4,500 for trading in their old gas-guzzling vehicle. This voucher could then be used to buy or lease new, more fuel-efficient cars. The idea is to boost new auto sales and give a big green thumbs-up to the environment.
However, some proponents of the plan speculate that the bill will not meet either of these objectives. First, with the current economic situation, many doubt that consumers will be rushing to purchase new vehicles. Nationally, the unemployment rate is hovering around 9.4% and banks are continuing to tighten lending practices. This is not the ideal situation for consumers to be car shopping – even with the $4,500 voucher.
Additionally, billions of dollars worth of tax payer money have already been invested in the auto industry bailout, yet new car sales are expected to drop from 13 million in 2008 to 9.5 million in 2009. Car sales were down 34% in May of 2009 from the same month in 2008. Adding even more money to the ailing auto industry, the Cash for Clunkers program is expected to cost taxpayers about $4 billion.
This leaves one to ask about the environmental impact and if the cost will be worth it. The program may not make as big of a positive environmental impact as some other bills that are being proposed at this time. Supporters of the Cash for Clunkers bills estimate passing it would take a million gas-guzzling cars and trucks off the road in the first year. However, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that this figure will be closer to 625,000 new fuel-efficient car sales.
Any environmental benefit of the Cash for Clunkers bill that may be achieved could be far less than those anticipated from the Obama administration’s new CAFE standards, which mandate a combined average fuel efficiency of 39 miles per gallon for passenger cars and 30 miles per gallon for light weight trucks by 2016.
Regardless of whether the Cash for Clunkers bill is passed, consumers will still need to insure their vehicle – fuel-efficient or clunker. Whichever car needs to be insured, consumers can get a free car insurance quote quickly and easily. Many sites offer a simple way to compare auto insurance rates so a plan with the most coverage at the lowest possible rate can be found.
A consumer can simply enter their zip code and basic information online. Then, they will be contacted by up to five local insurance agents offering the best coverage and rates. These agents know they are competing with other agents in the area, so they are sure to offer the most competitive deals.
All the insurance shopper needs to do is choose an agent with the policy that fits their needs. Consumers can also contact an insurance agent with any questions they may have about a policy before deciding on one.