BEFORE

A Simple Way to Help the Economy, Environment and Detroit

Among other urgent challenges, the incoming Obama administration will need to move in its first days to stimulate our ailing economy, prevent the collapse of the auto industry, and tackle climate change and oil dependence. Fortunately, one policy idea could simultaneously address each of these challenges: "cash for clunkers."

Under a "cash for clunkers" program, the federal government would offer vouchers to the owners of the oldest, most polluting, most fuel inefficient cars to be used toward the purchase of newer, more fuel-efficient vehicles in exchange for their old cars. The government would then scrap the old vehicles to get them off the road. Local variants of such a program are operating in several states, such as California and Texas, and France just announced the adoption of a similar program as part of its stimulus package

AFTER

Revving Up to Save the Economy and Detroit

The incoming Obama administration faces pressure to stimulate our ailing economy, prevent the collapse of the auto industry and tackle climate change and oil dependence. One policy idea might simultaneously rev up the engine on all three challenges—cash for clunkers.

Offering cash vouchers to clunker owners is a novel approach. In exchange for their old, polluting cars, drivers could use the vouchers toward the purchase of newer, more fuel-efficient vehicles, with the old vehicles scrapped to get them off the road.

Local variants of the cash for clunkers program are already operating in such states as California and Texas. Overseas, France just announced the adoption of a similar program as part of its stimulus package.