Our wildly popular CARS program came to a close last night. I never imagined that in the first four days we’d put a quarter million new fuel-efficient cars on the road. But when the vouchers came pouring in, it was clear that CARS was generating incredible economic activity all across America and we had to keep the program alive.
Thanks to additional funds from Congress, CARS has now taken nearly 700,000 clunkers off the roads and replaced them with more fuel-efficient vehicles. It has stimulated the economy, generated jobs and helped consumers dump their gas-guzzlers. And, it’s taken toxic greenhouse gases out of the air to improve the environment.
CARS’ economic success has been some of the most heartening news. Both Ford and General Motors have announced production increases for their third and fourth quarters due to heightened demand for fuel-efficient vehicles. Honda is also increasing production at its U.S. plants in East Liberty and Marysville, Ohio and in Lincoln, Alabama.
The program has been a lifeline to auto manufacturers and dealers to be sure. But it’s also had a visible ripple effect through communities and related industries. Because of CARS, scrapyards are selling clunker waterpumps, batteries and other parts. Credit unions and banks are processing thousands of car loans. Repairmen, mechanics and sales staff are picking up additional work. CARS has truly been a winning deal for everyone.The verdict is in: CARS has been a bright spot in tough economic times.