DOT Press release:

In addition, the program provides good news for the environment. That's because 84 percent of consumers traded in trucks and 59 percent purchased passenger cars. The average fuel economy of the vehicles traded in was 15.8 miles per gallon and the average fuel economy of vehicles purchased is 24.9 mpg. -- a 58 percent improvement.
New vehicles Mileage: 24.9 MPG
Trade-in Mileage: 15.8 MPG
Overall increase: 9.2 MPG, or a 58% improvement

I believe a five year-old could see the flaw in that mpg logic. As excited as I am to have pieces of junk taken off of the road and econoboxes put on, I don't think the (number of miles those F150s & Chevy C1500s were being driven yearly) divided by (mpg for the C1500 and F150) will be anywhere close to (the number of miles the Corollas, Civics, and Camrys will be driven per year) divided by (those cars' mpg). And I'm darn sure if we take the number of gallons people who used CARS sucked up last year, we won't see a 58% reduction for the upcoming.

I'm guessing a lot of people had an old, high-mileage Explorer or a rusted truck in the yard that got taken to the dealer and another, newer SUV worth much more than $4500 in the driveway, to which they've now added an econobox. Interesting that around 280,000 trucks were purchased with the CARS program as well. That's about 40% of the sales.

Also interesting to note that if you had a responsible clunker with, oh, 32 mpg like my 96 Saturn, worth about a grand, or a real clunker that had aged out of the program, like my 78 Jeep, 82 Vanagon, or 74 Fury, you were slap outta luck. Responsible or exceptionally poor (or if you have a junk car collection problem), this bailout's not for you.

And only 2% Volkswagens? I'm not sure what the highest mpg cars are that qualified for purchase under CARS, but VW is known for their diesels, and diesels are known for some impressive mpg. (Sure enough, only lists a hybrid above a diesel Jetta for small cars, and the Golf diesel does the best in hatchbacks.)

Finally, what does this mean for folk who buy used cars for less than $4500 and need reliable transportation, especially those working construction that need trucks for their jobs? Looks like they've now got 684,941 fewer options. Demand's likely flat, and the supply side just got lots skinnier.

Thanks, Sam.