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Cash for Clunkers, State by State
November 18, 2009 2:54 PM   Subscribe

Edmunds released data this month on the results of the Cash for Clunkers stimulus. Freakonomics blog commented. Now the Detroit News has offered a state-by-state analysis of how funds were used. Which state was most likely to trade an American car for another American car? You guessed it...
posted by jefficator (37 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I was going to wonder why there was such a percentage disparity between Wyoming and Montana, but then I realized that with a population in the low teens, it's easy for one or two people to effect a large percentage shift.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:59 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also discussed on a recent episode of Planet Money.
posted by Mr. Palomar at 3:00 PM on November 18, 2009


A lot of unreliable, unsafe, gas-guzzling Ford Explorers being traded in for more reliable, safer, fuel-efficient Toyotas and Hondas. Not very surprising. It's like trading bad money in for good.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:06 PM on November 18, 2009


> Which state was most likely to trade an American car for another American car? You guessed it...

Why should this be a surprise or even funny? It's not only hometown loyalty that leads Michigan locals to buy Big Three product, it's the discounts. Various tiers of employee, employee's family, retiree, retiree's family, and vendor discounts ensure that American cars cost considerably less than imports even for people whose nearest association to the auto industry is through their stepmom's step-uncle.
posted by ardgedee at 3:10 PM on November 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


> Which state was most likely to trade an American car for another American car? You guessed it...

Why should this be a surprise or even funny?


Not meant to be a joke, apologies. Just looking for a succinct way of offering the data :-)
posted by jefficator at 3:13 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Next up: Cash for Caulkers
posted by brain_drain at 3:14 PM on November 18, 2009


As someone who bought a new Saturn, I have precious little sympathy for the American automobile industry, in general, and for General Motors, in particular. They left Saturn out to die. And, curiously, Howie Long's sanctimonious assholemug incessantly on TV is not an incentive to run down to my Chevy dealer.

As soon as I finish driving my '01 Saturn into the ground, it's onto a Honda or Toyota. They were probably assembled by Americans, anyway.
posted by Danf at 3:14 PM on November 18, 2009


Why is anyone still paying attention the Freakonomics idiots?
posted by delmoi at 3:15 PM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


The Freakonomics link is there to show how to misinterpret the data, right?
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:19 PM on November 18, 2009


Jun '09      9.67       9.80  -0.13     857,447
Jul '09     11.22     10.11    1.11     995,216    
Aug '09     14.06     10.45    3.61     1,258,747
Sep '09      9.19     10.63   -1.44     744,367
How does Edmunds figure that only 125,000 cars were bought as a result of Cash For Clunkers? Up by 150,000 the first month, up by 400,000 the second and last month. Can I ever trust a company whose income relies on used car sales again?
posted by stavrogin at 3:30 PM on November 18, 2009


Man, if you hate looking at Ford Explorers, Cash for Clunkers really worked out great for you.
posted by box at 3:33 PM on November 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


Wow, the Explorer is the most traded-in vehicle pretty much everywhere. Not surprised at all. My stepdad and brother-in-law owned old-school & new-school Explorers respectively, and I couldn't believe how much they depreciated in a few years.

In Ontario it seems like many more people drive US models in the auto-building (clustered, kind of, around Detroit)southwest of the province. In Ottawa the cars are (glances futilely out of window) say 75% foreign. Well, maybe it's an urban(e)/suburban thing compounded with auto workers (plus people getting deals from people in the industry) and a lot just wanting to support the local industry.
posted by Flashman at 3:38 PM on November 18, 2009


I'm sure there's an interesting story behind both South Dakota and Nebraska loving, and then leaving the Silverado X15
posted by Flashman at 3:42 PM on November 18, 2009


How does Edmunds figure that only 125,000 cars were bought as a result of Cash For Clunkers? Up by 150,000 the first month, up by 400,000 the second and last month.

Depends on what the usual seasonal variation in car purchases is. It might be that we'd usually expect 1.1M cars to be sold in August, and they sold 1.25M.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:49 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Just looking for a succinct way of offering the data :-)

Succinctly offering as in, "I'm not telling you unless you click through the link"?
posted by jock@law at 3:50 PM on November 18, 2009


(who knew the White House had a blog!):

Get out much, Steven Levitt?
posted by honest knave at 4:16 PM on November 18, 2009


random observation that there are an awful lot of "foreign" car manufactures with sizable production plants in the US, so even buying a Toyota in the CfC program presumably had a net benefit for American workers and economy.
posted by edgeways at 4:50 PM on November 18, 2009


My "foreign" car was made in the US. In Tennessee, I think. Are Fords still made in Mexico?
posted by Cranberry at 4:54 PM on November 18, 2009


Blazecock Pileon: "A lot of unreliable, unsafe, gas-guzzling Ford Explorers being traded in"

...and then having their perfectly serviceable engines destroyed, driving up prices on the used car market, lessening the supply of replacement parts available, thereby reducing the mobility of used car buyers, and generally transferring money from the poor to the upper middle class.
posted by aerotive at 4:59 PM on November 18, 2009 [7 favorites]


I might be wrong, Flashman, but I doubt that the Legend of Silverado is all that interesting. ND, SD and NE are all rural states with aging populations.

In huge swaths of the country, the default vehicle is a pickup truck, and 'pickup truck' basically means a full-sized domestic model. There are quite a few other rural states (TX, OK, LA, AR, MS, AL, TN, KY, &C) where the F-150 tops the list--I bet the Silverado comes in second in several of 'em, and I bet the F-150 picks up the silver in either SD, NE or both.

The real outlier is Hawaii. Nissan Quest? Really?
posted by box at 5:23 PM on November 18, 2009


"In Ottawa the cars are (glances futilely out of window) say 75% foreign."

Aren't all cars in Canada foreign?
posted by MikeMc at 5:31 PM on November 18, 2009


Aren't all cars in Canada foreign?

Most are, but I actually saw a quite a few of these on the road this summer.
posted by sfenders at 5:36 PM on November 18, 2009


Yeah I guess you're right box - I imagined perhaps a particularly gifted Silverado salesman taking the bi-state area by storm (plus, I'd stupidly misread the stats, and had thought it was people selling Silverados in NE & SD, not buying them).

No way MikeMc, tons of 'American' cars (trucks, minivans, muscle cars) are made in Southern Ontario & Quebec, and parts for others made there too. So these brands are sort of domestic to Canada as well. The ones that end up being sold here are of course adapted for the Canadian market - different emissions standards and having to be equipped with skis and such.

Another interesting stat - Connecticut loves the Hyundai Elantra.
posted by Flashman at 5:42 PM on November 18, 2009


The point wasn't that the American car industry was on the ropes... the point is the entire car industry was in the shit-pit. Cash-For-Clunkers was intended to benefit the car industry as a whole, while encouraging them intoa Green direction. Once the auto industry bounced back, the domestic brands found they had a fighting chance.

Which is a hell of a lot more than they had before. GM and Chrysler were weeks away from going under before the Gov't stepped in - CFC was a part of the Big Three rescue, but it was more specifically an economy-as-a-whole rescue.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:04 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


...and then having their perfectly serviceable engines destroyed, driving up prices on the used car market, lessening the supply of replacement parts available, thereby reducing the mobility of used car buyers, and generally transferring money from the poor to the upper middle class.

Not all problems can be solved at once. Let's not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
posted by jefficator at 6:10 PM on November 18, 2009


then having their perfectly serviceable engines destroyed, driving up prices on the used car market, lessening the supply of replacement parts available

That assumes a lot of things. First, that the engines were indeed serviceable and not just limping towards death. Also, replacement parts may actually increase, since everything except the engine and the drivetrain could be parted out.
posted by electroboy at 6:31 PM on November 18, 2009


driving up prices on the used car market

I'm not sure that makes sense. The user car market would have had the same population of used cars it had before, if people were not buying new cars anyway. If the incentive program makes it less expensive to buy a new car, that encourages new car sales at the expense of used car sales and puts downward pressure on used car prices.

I think I would like to see some numbers that used cars are now more expensive than they were a year ago.

I'm of mixed opinion about the Clunker program, but one thing it will do to help spur the economy is help preserve auto worker jobs in America until the economy improves.

But more than that, this program will help reduce dependence on foreign oil, in the long term. Fuel efficient cars keep money in the United States, where money we don't spend on gasoline can recirculate and multiply its effect in our local economy. Fuel inefficient cars — used cars, especially — waste gasoline, sending money to Saudi Arabia and Venezuela that we do not see again, until those countries sell America more public debt that we pay back with tax revenue.

If anything, by improving average fuel efficiency, we're giving money to poorer people in the long-term. Instead of poor people handing over tax dollars to service America's increasing debt, the money we save gets reinvested into schools, jobs, infrastructure, etc. That benefits everyone, especially poorer folks who live in areas that have been neglected for those things I mentioned (namely: schools, jobs, infrastructure, etc.).
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:46 PM on November 18, 2009


My only big gripe with it was that in the first draft they were going to give you the 4 grand in public transportation vouchers.
posted by electroboy at 6:56 PM on November 18, 2009


(I kinda wonder, though, if the GM pickups have/had better cold-weather options (engine-block heaters, say) or something.)
posted by box at 7:38 PM on November 18, 2009


I understand the rural/northern states need for a 4wd truck, but using tax dollars to trade in a 4wd F150 to a 4wd Silverado? You saved maybe 2mpg. Good job.
posted by Big_B at 7:58 PM on November 18, 2009


If there's one thing I've learned it's not to buy a Ford F150 or a Silverado, unless I want to have something all ready and waiting for the 2020 clunker program.
posted by crapmatic at 8:09 PM on November 18, 2009


Once the auto industry bounced back, the domestic brands found they had a fighting chance.

A temporary chance in the form of a direct subsidy. Will they make those same sales next year around the same time? Doubt it.
posted by symbollocks at 8:14 PM on November 18, 2009


The slings and arrows directed at honest, hardworking, God-fearing, big ol' American car buying people is getting pretty tiresome. In fact, I was going to attend a rally today to protest this sort of closed-minded thinking but my Chevy wouldn't start
Rural Americans are real Americans. There's no doubt about that. You can't always be sure with other Americans. Not all of them are real. - Dan Quayle

posted by porn in the woods at 8:40 PM on November 18, 2009


I worked for Ford for a while, in the finance division.

The employee discounts were generous across the board, even for Volvos and Jaguars, but certain vehicles were more deeply discounted.

Guess which one was the best deal?

Explorer!
posted by padraigin at 10:12 PM on November 18, 2009


I actually saw a quite a few of these on the road this summer.
posted by sfenders at 5:36 PM on November 18


I've been seeing these here and there in Toronto -- had no idea they were Canadian-made. Thanks for making my (patriotic small-c Canuck) day, sfenders.
posted by spoobnooble at 2:56 AM on November 19, 2009


but using tax dollars to trade in a 4wd F150 to a 4wd Silverado? You saved maybe 2mpg

At the low end, a 2mpg savings adds up to substantial gas saved. In a 15000 mile year, moving from 12 to 14 mpg (made up numbers) saves about 200 gallons. Starting from 30mpg, you'd have to increase your car's mileage to 50 to save 200 gallons in a 15000 mile year.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:37 AM on November 19, 2009


And if you need a truck to do work on the farm or the job site or whatnot, mileage is still an issue, but things like towing and payload capacities might be bigger ones.

Looking at it another way--because of CfC, folks got a $4500 trade-in on vehicles that weren't worth $4500. And since their old trucks weren't worth $4500, a lot of 'em were probably going to get a new one pretty soon anyway. (Most of those traded-in trucks were presumably old and/or high-mileage vehicles, so there's probably a benefit in terms of lower emissions as well.)
posted by box at 8:51 AM on November 19, 2009


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