WASHINGTON (April 16, 2009) — The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) has sent a two-page fact sheet to every member of Congress, outlining various reasons why vehicle scrappage or so-called “Cash for Clunkers” legislation would only create rather than solve economic and environmental problems for the U.S.
Widespread claims of success for a German vehicle scrappage program in getting motorists to buy new vehicles are vastly exaggerated, SEMA told Congress. The European Federation for Transport and the Environment is asking Germany and other countries to abandon scrappage subsidies, Diamond Bar, Calif.-based trade group said, because they create massive environmental problems in accelerating the lifecycle of a car.
“Scrappage programs do not calculate carbon dioxide emissions expended to manufacture a new car,” SEMA said. “Approximately 15 to 20 percent of a car's emissions may be produced during its manufacture. For example, a CNW Research study estimated that it took the energy equivalent of 1,000 gallons of gasoline to make the fuel-efficient Toyota Prius.”
Most often, older cars traded in under a scrappage voucher system would be rarely driven second or third cars that sit in the driveway or garage, SEMA said. Those cars have little impact on the environment anyway, and the low amount of the vouchers—usually $2,000 to $5,000—would not allow motorists to buy fuel-efficient new cars.
Instead of “Cash for Clunkers,” the association urged Congress to provide cash incentives for motorists to buy fuel-efficient new and used cars; work to restore new car financing for individuals and businesses; reinstate tax deductions for car loan interest payments; and provide tax incentives for motorists to upgrade, repair or maintain their older vehicles.
SEMA is in the process of following up on this letter by arranging meetings with key members of Congress and their staffs, said Stuart Gosswein, SEMA director of regulatory affairs.