By all accounts the cash for clunkers incentive program has exceeded all expectations in both volume of sales, as well as answering skeptics by getting fuel inefficient vehicles off the road.
The new vehicles being purchased average nearly 10 mpg higher, saving nearly 4 million barrels of oil per year and eliminating the production of tons of greenhouse gases.
More importantly, the program and its surrounding attention seems to have driven consumers towards hybrids and fuel efficient vehicles even more than a 50 cent spike in the price of gasoline. According to Brian Benstock, the VP and GM of Paragon Honda and Acura, the program is also introducing new customers to imports. Benstock said the program has reversed the ratio of domestic/import trade-ins at his dealership. Previously about 70 percent of his customers were trading one import (mostly Hondas) for another. Now it’s the opposite: 70 percent of people walking in the door are swapping American made autos for Hondas.