The US government as well as many state governments have been trying for years to get rid of us. We are the automotive hobbyists. Whether it is suspension limits (lifting or lowering), noise ordinances or emissions restrictions, they just don’t like us or some reason. The latest attempt is a doozy.
The US congress has introduced a bill that will put in place a national vehicle scrappage plan in an attempt to boost domestic auto sales. The plan states that you can take any car that you have owned for one year (and had insurance on) to any car dealership and get a voucher for $3500 to $4500 toward the purchase of a new car that gets better gas mileage. I won’t go into the dirty details, but you can find it on USA TODAY.
The Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) has been fighting this legislation, knowing full well that with the full weight and support of the President of the United States, they didn’t have much hope of killing it. These programs threaten the very livelihood of the automotive aftermarket industry, as many of the cars that would be scrapped tend to be older cars that don’t get driven, and do not contribute to pollution, but are a much needed resource for parts and projects. In an impressive win, SEMA has managed to get a 25-year exemption worded into the bill. This makes it so that the car must be 1984 or newer to qualify. Not many classics in that time period.
This is still a troubling trend, because while the cars themselves may not be great, the drivetrain and other parts are. The bill states that the car can be resold in parts, like at a salvage yard, but the engine and drivetrain must be destroyed. With the SEMA exemptions, the transmission and rear end can be salvaged, but the engine must be destroyed. You can kiss those fuel-injected 350 chevys and 302 Ford motors good-bye.
The scrappage program will run for a term of one-year, when it will be reevaluated. In the end, the program will cost taxpayers in the neighborhood of 2.5 billion dollars. This program will not generate any significant environmental change, nor will it reduce congestion on the streets. What it will do is significantly raise the price of any used vehicle for sale and make it harder for the rest of America to buy a car. Sure, they will sell more new cars, but those used cars will not move to the used lot, they will go to the salvage yards. Every jackass with a $500 car sitting in the driveway with a “For Sale” sign in the window just went out and added three-grand to the price.
If you need a new used car, you better buy it now before this becomes law, which it will. The measure passed through Congress with a 298-119 vote.