Congress Takes Wrong Turn on "Cash for Guzzlers"

SEMA Continues to Promote Options to Short-Sighted Scrappage Program

Key lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives announced a “Cash for Guzzlers” agreement that would pay consumers to scrap cars and trucks that get less than 18 miles per gallon in exchange for a cash voucher to buy a new car. The consumer would receive either $3,500 or $4,500 depending on the fuel economy improvement of the new vehicle. Legislation is expected to be introduced in the near future.

SEMA expressed disappointment that lawmakers and the Administration had taken another step toward establishing a national vehicle scrappage program. Recognizing an urgent need to direct economic stimulus towards automakers and dealerships, SEMA has supported the concept of government–issued vouchers and other incentives to help consumers purchase new, fuel-efficient cars. With a program that includes scrapping cars and trucks, SEMA maintains Congress is taking the wrong approach.

SEMA will continue to work with lawmakers to find ways to minimize the harm a motor vehicle scrappage program will needlessly impose on thousands of independent repair shops, auto restorers, customizers and their customers across the country. SEMA will promote instead a government incentive program that will help clean the environment, provide for vehicle and parts recycling, and preserve collector cars for future generations.

The proposed program would last up to one year and could collect one million older cars and trucks. A scrapped vehicle must get less that 18 mpg (15 mpg for heavy pick-ups and vans). The car buyer will get a $3,500 voucher if they buy a new passenger car that is at least 4 mpg higher than the older vehicle, or a new pickup truck/SUV that is at least 2 mpg higher than the old truck. They will get $4,500 if the passenger car is at least 10 mpg higher and the truck/SUV is at least 5 mpg higher. The EPA “window sticker” defines mpg. For more information, contact Stuart Gosswein at