August 27th, 2009
By Harriet Blake
Green Right Now
The Cash for Clunkers program, which ended this week, may have been more environmentally friendly than originally thought. The concern among environmentalists was that by tossing away old cars and buying news ones, the program encouraged a throw-away society mentality — something Americans are often accused of.
The Sierra Club, says spokesman Jesse Prentice-Dunn, initially had concerns that the bill was weak.
“Now, looking at the final stats,” he says, “consumers did buy more fuel-efficient vehicles. One thing that was very encouraging, was that more than 84 percent traded in trucks and other gas guzzlers; and 59 percent purchased cars.”
They may not have purchased hybrids, says Prentice-Dunn — the Prius was No. 7 on the list of cars purchased. However, the fact that they bought more fuel-efficient cars was important. The Sierra Club, he says, was encouraged by consumers’ choices.