Speaking of Clunkers…

clunker Cash for Clunkers is a mega-clunker, as it (very unsurprisingly) turns out.

What kind of MPG leap is the free-money-for-cars gambit yielding? It must be wondrous, right?

Not so much:

Edmunds.com analysts have determined that in May and June, the average fuel efficiency of recently purchased new cars was 21.8 miles per gallon. Since the program launched, the average has jumped to 23.2 mpg, a 6.1 percent improvement.

Wow! Stunning!

And how about the widespread report that the Toyota Corolla is now the #1 seller? Turns out that’s false. The actual bestseller is the Ford Escape SUV, which comes in six sub-models, so gets counted as six different makes, rather than one, in the bogus reports you’re hearing. As Advertising Age explains:

Interestingly, the government’s list of top-10 vehicles sold showed that consumers bought mostly compact cars during the promotion, with the Toyota Corolla in the No. 1 slot. The discrepancy arises because Uncle Sam considers each of the six versions of the Escape (as well as different versions of the trucks) to be a separate model, while Edmunds tallied all Escape-model sales.

The actual top ten models people are choosing with their “Clunkers” trade-ins, according to edmunds.com?

1. Ford Escape — an SUV

2. Ford Focus

3. Jeep Patriot — an SUV

4. Dodge Caliber — an SUV

5. Ford F-150 — a pick-up truck

6. Honda Civic

7. Chevrolet Silverado 1500 — a pick-up truck

8. Chevrolet Cobalt

9. Toyota Corolla

10. Ford Fusion

So, five of the top seven are SUVs or pick-ups.

“Only in America,” as they say…

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I’m not surprised at the number of pick-up trucks. The owners are most likely manual laborers, odd-job workers, part-time and self-employeds, etc., who tend to hang on to their old cars longer.

The prominence of Ford among US models suggests who was active among the lobbyists at the time the bill was written, or who the public believed was going to survive among US makers.

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[…] Turns out, this inequality is a central outcome of the recently concluded round of “cash-for-clunkers” handouts. […]