Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Cash for Clunkers

We own six cars. That’s an absurd number for a family of two, on the face of it. Let’s tote up:
The Van – 93 Astro. Biggest of the mini-vans, it has 160K miles, and is running pretty well. It is useful to carry dogs and us and cargo and stuff.

Yellow Convertible #1 – Sheri’s 16th birthday present, it’s not going anywhere as long as she’s alive. It’s a very nice 1971 Olds Cutlass Supreme. Not driven very much anymore, but a part of the family as much as I am.

Yellow Convertible #2 – 2001 Corvette, with chromed rollbar and some other minor mods. Sheri’s daily driver and track car.

El Jefe – 1991 Dodge Truck. No model number, just Truck. It’s actually a ¾ ton model, and runs very well. Tow vehicle for the racecar.

Bluecar – 2002 Corvette Z06. My racecar, many mods, streetable, though no longer legal.

Greencar – 1993 Dodge Stealth RT/TT. My daily driver.

And so I started looking into the cash for clunkers (CARS) program, thinking that we might trade the van in and get $4500 for it, and so forth.

I was horrified, and surprised at myself at the same time.

The program requires that the cars turned in be disabled, permanently, within seven days of turn in. They have their oil drained, are filled with sodium silicate and run until the chemical turns to glass.

The dead cars then go to a recycler who takes off what parts they can and crush/shred the rest for scrap. The component value of the cars is about a break even for the recyclers, since it costs around $700 to crush/chop/shred the cars, and they don’t get to sell any of the drivetrain components (since they are full of glass).

It’s basically lethal injection for cars, which struck me as very sad. Somehow, I thought the cars were recycled in toto, rather than having the engines destroyed. Of course, that makes no sense, considering the big, inefficient engines are the cause of the emissions problem. But it’s still fucking sad.

So we’re keeping all of ours. We will paint the blood over the threshold and Death will cruise on by, taking someone’s old Ford Explorer and leaving behind a nice new Prius.

I’m going to go out and fix the brakes on the van this weekend, because I think it’ll be carrying dogs and cargo and stuff for some time to come. There are about to me quite a few spare parts on the market too.