Congressional lawmakers are once again considering legislation to create a nationwide "Cash for Clunkers" program. The latest bill (H.R. 1550) is entitled the “Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act” (CARS Act) and was introduced on March 17 by Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio).
If enacted into law, the legislation would provide consumers with vouchers worth from $3,000–$5,000 to buy a new car if they scrap a vehicle that is at least eight years old. The new car must have a sticker price less than $35,000 and meet certain fuel economy and emissions ratings. The program would run for calendar years 2009 and 2010. After that, for model years 2011–2016, consumers could get $7,500 vouchers to purchase electric vehicles.
Under the bill, qualification criteria would differ between new vehicles assembled in the United States and vehicles assembled in Canada and Mexico, with the latter held to a higher MPG rating to qualify for the same or lower subsidy. The program would not apply to new vehicles built outside of North America.
Toyota North America and other foreign-based automakers have spoken out against the discriminatory treatment in the legislation.
SEMA has already contacted members of Congress and the news media to express opposition to the scrappage legislation. Timing for action on the legislation is unclear at this point. SEMA will keep members informed.