For a Nobel Peace Laureate, he sure goes to war a lot.
But only against his own citizens. That’s an absolutely Sith attitude.
Another factor against the Cash for clunkers program is: It didn’t take into account the carbon footprint and resource-cost of building new cars.
Buy a new car more often, more carbon, and more resources are used (metal, plastic, etc., plus the energy used in all stages of manufacture) in making the new cars.
Make old cars last longer, and then less resources (and therefore less carbon footprint) are used in the making of new replacement cars.
Someone can run the numbers, but I bet the carbon emissions saved by buying a more fuel efficient car “X” years earlier is more than outweighed by the carbon emissions it takes to manufacture the new car, (and you can amortize the carbon emissions of manufacturing the new car, by multiplying by “X” then dividing by the life of the new car).
Assume you drive 15,000 miles/year. Assume old “clunker” gets 20 miles/gal average over a year, and new car gets 24 miles/gal average over a year. Assume gas = $2.50/gal.
The dollars in fuel saved will be $312/year, and gallons saved = 125/year.
Now, in terms of energy expended, how many joules (a unit of energy) does it take to manufacture a new car? Divide that by the life expectency (in years) of the new car. Then, does that result equal the joules in 125 gallons of gasoline?
Now, in terms of annual cost, if your old car was paid for, and you are now making payments on your new car (or looking at the interest you could make if you otherwise invested those dollars you would have used to buy the new car outright), the car payments made (or the interest you would have earned) during the time you would have _otherwise_ kept the old far exceeds the annual $312 savings in gas.
IE, paying extra for those gallons “wasted” by the old car is much smaller than the annual amortized cost of the purchase price of the new car.
In other words, buying a new car earlier, just to save on gas, is spending dollars to save pennies.