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Clunker Death Solution

Sodium silicate is the designated agent of death for cars surrendered under the federal cash-for-clunkers program. To receive government reimbursement, auto dealers who offer rebates on new cars in exchange for so-called clunkers must agree to “kill” the old models, using a method the government outlines in great detail in its 136-page manual for dealers: Drain the engine of oil and replace it with two quarts of a sodium-silicate solution.

The sad part is that I’m not even surprized by the contents of your post. A 136 page manual? This is our tax dollars at work?

I’m still not feeling economically stimulated.

SOMETHING is being stimulated. It’s not anything of ours though.

The fact that there are stringent guidelines for the mandatory destruction of often serviceable vehicles is just plain weird to me. Why is it so important that these cars are destroyed? Why doesn’t big brother do something useful with usable cars, like give them to poor people that need a car, or sell them to recoup some small portion of the cost? I can see it now: “Obama’s ‘OK’ Used Cars” dealers across the country.

i agree 110%. “Obama’s OK used cars”, I love the idea.

So, for a margianlly tiny improvement in the amount of carbon emissions in a perfectly servicable car he’s willing to provide $4500 in our tax money and generate 6.5 tons of carbon (the estimated amount necessary to build a new car) plus the carbon necessary to destroy the old vehicle (anybody seen any estimates on this?).

Yeah, this one’s a winner.

If he’s doing this much for the environement I can’y wait to see the new heathcare plan…

The purpose is to disable the engine only. the other parts can still be salvaged.

Okay, so how much carbon is expended destroying the engine? I assume that ends up getting resmelted and recycled. Add that amount to the carbon expended to produce the new vehicle and where is the environmental benefit?

I am sorry, but I must disagree. the point is to destroy the entire vehicle so no “gas guzzling” part is ever used again. though some yards may do a little under the table parting-out, all vehicles should be crushed, cubed, shredded, or whatever they have to compact the car. a shameful waste.

While I believe in the program for the good it’s done the economy (And yes, I know it’s our tax dollars that are subsidizing this program), I am sickened by the waste of it. Go to YouTube and search for cash for clunkers and you will find many videos of people with apparently double-digit IQs cheerfully destroying engines. They even bet on which ones will last longest. It’s sad for any car lover to see vehicles that are in decent shape, at least some of which were well cared for by the owners, senselessly destroyed in this fashion. (though I grudgingly admit a sick fascination with the process) The trade in value of my vehicle is probably less than $2,000, but it would be difficult for me to give up a faithful vehicle to be willfully ruined, then shredded, any more than seeing an aged pet tortured to death. (I realize that cars are inanimate objects that feel no pain, and all will die someday)

I wonder how people in Cuba if they have access to these videos feel about it? People that have been keeping the same cars running for decades due to the trade embargo. Perhaps this is the true American way—use something and when you’re done with it, throw it away, regardless of how much useful life is left in it.

I propose another partial solution—allow some of the better condition vehicles, that are on the borderline of the fuel economy rule to survive and be bid on by used-car dealers or the public at large. Possibly donate some of them to underprivileged people or allow them to be purchased at a great discount. Provide a lesser incentive–say, $1,500-$2,500 to people trading in polluting, inefficient vehicles for USED vehicles that get better mileage and emit less pollutants. Make an addendum to the C.F.C rules so that vehicles in poor repair such that they leak oil or won’t pass emission tests can be traded in, as well as just poor fuel economy. Surely getting that aged econobox with the cracked windshield, leaking several fluids, and burning oil, off the road is better for the environment than keeping it because it still manages to get better fuel economy than the cutoff criteria. Not that CFC is about the environment except as a secondary benefit.

Perhaps part of the problem is that most vehicles are built so much better these days than in the 70s and 80s—so they don’t rust out or die until at least 200K on the odometer. Eventually there will be a glut of vehicles and the market will be saturated when there’s much less attrition and people just can’t afford 20K+ for a decent vehicle. Not that I’m suggesting that we go back to crappy vehicles that are used up at 100K.

Any thoughts anyone?

I agree wholeheartedly about getting the rusted, broken hulks off the road. Perhaps they could work it like this:
Person A trades a perfectly fine <18mpg “clunker” in for a new car while person B wants to trade in a REAL clunker, but can’t afford a new vehicle. Person A’s car is traded for Person B’s car and the real clunker is then stripped of anything useful and recycled.

I have a totally revoluionary solution. How about letting the market take care of this? When does any government program accomplish anything good?

I am not better at predicting the future than anyone else, but if we started euthanasia I would expect a military coup. There are people who assume they can do anything to anyone with no resistance. A great example was a chap named King George.

Looks like salvage yards can sell any part except the engine block…

It is too bad when the forums turn into political blogs. There will always be differences of opinion in that regard.

things move slowly in "junk"yards. instead of picking pieces when needed, they must be crushed or shredded within 180 days. that’s not a lot of time. they’re not about to go running out and parting-out cars. if the yard is being flooded with “cliunker’s” they’re just going to get overwhelmed and say ‘to heck with this’ and start crushing them without a second thought.

I didn’t see anything there about parting out the car. could you show us more specifics?
the engine block contributes nothing towards MPG. but while they’re “disabling” the engine, they hurt countless things besides the block, heads, valves, crankshaft, rods, pistons, and anything else that moves.

I understand the frustration regarding the distruction of “functional” vehicles.

However, there are 2 primary program objectives:

  1. stimulate the auto market helping a weak auto industry and the US economy

  2. reduce petroleum consumption … between 8 and 32 barrels (mostly imported) of petroleum PER VEHICLE … PER YEAR.

Keep in mind that reduce petroleum consumption is a permanent 8 to 32 barrel reduction PER VEHICLE … ANNUALLY, for the life of the new replacement vehicle!

Unless the “clunker/guzzler” engines are destroyed there is NO reduction in petroleum consumption.

The money not spent on imported oil remains in the DOMESTIC ECONOMY generating roughly 5x the economic activity (relative to value of saved oil purchases) and 1x in “new” tax revenue.

you do not have to destroy the engine to make it not use gas. solution? you dont have to use them. simple. my social group (what you would call Rednecks) cannot afford to own anything newer than 2002. destroying our vehicles to get someone else a new car isnt very nice.

NOTHING is eligible to be turned in under C4C unless it gets 18 OR LESS mpg combined average, therefore, only “guzzlers” and “near guzzlers” can be accepted for distruction.

That leaves the more FUEL FRUGAL machines ABOVE 18 mpg combined average in the market to be donated and/or “recycled”.

Besides, IF, someone is financially stressed … would a vehicle that requires between 6 and 10 gallons per 100 miles help their situation/budget?

you are right about 18 MPG rule,
another situation is that a family who has a car that is dieing right before them and need a car NOW. it would be best to drive a beater for a year than to dig yourself a hole with car payments.
it works the other way around too. a family has 2 bank owned vehicles and its slowly swallowing them. it would be best to turn them in, and drive beaters that are paid for.

Actually, Louie, I’d disagree. Cash For Clunkers is a political program, using our tax dollars to bail out a struggling auto industry. It’s good that people are speaking their minds about this. It’s good that we’re not all just following along meekly.

Yeah, we disagree, but that’s healthy. I would not want to live in a country where the right to speak my mind about an issue were stifled.

A “blog” is, as I understand the term, a one-sided site promoting a particular belief. While we old guys may agree often, everyone is free to speak their mind on the issue as long as they don’t disrespect others. For the most part you’ll find that the forum regulars police the threads to make sure that happens.