We're one step closer to passage of the so-called "Cash for Clunkers" program. The program, part of a wider climate-change bill currently wending its way through Congress, would give consumers a voucher of up to $4,500 for trading in an old gas-guzzler for a new car with better gas mileage.
The fine print on that $4,500 deal: The car owner must turn in a vehicle that gets less than 18 mpg for a new car whose mpg is at least 10 more than the old one's. Or 5 more if it's a truck.
EPA numbers from the window sticker will be used to establish the car's fuel efficiency.
The government expects the incentive will stimulate new car sales to the tune of 1 million units.
While this may sound like a good plan to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions from auto exhaust fumes, the program has its detractors.
The plan's opponents say the government isn't thinking big enough. If it's really out to help the environment, they say, it can do better than craft a program that only affects 5% of all vehicles, while ignoring other methods for reducing fuel consumption.