Revised ‘cash for clunkers’ bill should protect hobby

The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) has declared success in their efforts to lobby Congress to exclude older vehicles from the “cash for clunkers” bill.

Due in part to SEMA’s efforts, an amendment was added to the controversial bill that will exclude vehicles 1985 and older, helping to safeguard collector vehicles and their parts for old car hobbyists. The provision will allow all parts to be recycled except the engine.

The House passed the measure by a 298-119 vote. It is expected to pass the Senate and has the support of President Obama.

If approved, the bill calls for giving consumers a voucher of up to $4,500 towards the purchase of a new car in exchange for scrapping a less fuel-efficient vehicle. The amendment covers vehicles that may possess historic or aesthetic value, and are important to hobbyists as sources of restoration parts. Under the provision, vehicle drivetrains can also be recycled, providing the transmission, drive shaft or rear end are sold as separate parts.

Proponents claim that the program, which will last for one year, may create an estimated 625,000 vehicle sales.

Consumers would get a voucher worth $3,500 if they traded in a vehicle getting 18 mpg or less for one getting at least 22 miles per gallon. The stipend would grow to $4,500 if the mileage of the new car is 10 mpg higher than the old vehicle.

Owners of sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks or minivans that get 18 mpg or less could receive a voucher for $3,500 if their new truck or SUV is at least 2 mpg higher than their old vehicle. The amount would grow to $4,500 if the new truck or SUV got at least 5 mpg higher than the old vehicle. Consumers could also receive vouchers for leased vehicles.

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