Mike Stevens | Mar 19, 2009

How is your ratty old daily driver looking? If you happen to be a resident of the USA, it could soon be looking rather... lucrative.

A new bill has been introduced to the US Congress which would provide for a USD$5000 (AUD$7340) voucher to to be offered to car owners as an incentive to trade in their car - so long as it's eight years or older - and buy a new, more fuel-efficient car.

It’s a move the UK government is being asked to consider after Germany introduced a similar incentive which pushed February sales to a ten year high.

The US bill, introduced by Ohio congresswoman Betty Sutton, is dubbed the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Bill, or (wait for it) the CARS act.

The CARS act is intended as a two-pronged means of jump-starting sales in the tanking US economy, while also helping to reduce CO2 emissions.

Sutton says that “this legislation will help consumers, stimulate our economy, improve our environment, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and help our domestic auto and related industries, upon which millions of American families depend for employment".

The $5000 voucher will be available only to buyers who choose a vehicle assembled in North America. For foreign-built cars, a USD$4000 (AUD$5890) voucher would be available, provided the sticker price of the new car is below USD$35,000 (AUD$51,540).

suburban-dually

The program is geared in such a way that it would technically be possible to trade a 12mpg (19.6 l/100km) Ford F150 in on a 14 mpg (16.8 l/100km) Chev Colorado V8, but any ‘green’ improvement is better than none.

Consumers may also elect to turn in their vehicle in exchange for public transport vouchers.

With some of the major economies of the world considering or offering buy-back incentives for older cars, we can only keep our fingers crossed that the Australian government has something similar in mind.

An AUD$5000 dollar head-start toward a new car would be a welcome thing to many Aussie motorists, and as proven in Germany, it seems it works as a way to keep new car sales on the boil.

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