By Katherine Mangu-Ward
Nothing like sitting around waiting for the double dip recession at home, watching the Dow plunge, or listening to the doors of European banks slam shut, to make a person feel like a used car might be the way to go, rather than something shiny and new.
Too bad used cars are becoming much more expensive. Demand for used cars is up, and supply is down. People traded in 3 million fewer cars last year than in the pre-recession years. And perhaps you recall those 677,842 functional cars we junked as part of the Cash for Clunkers plan? Yeah, those aren't on the market either.
But rising used car prices and an unimpressive economy didn't stop the government from declaring victory last week on Cash for Clunkers:
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood responded to reports released today by the DOT Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the General Accounting Office on the DOT's popular ‘Cash for Clunkers' program and announced next steps for closing it down. "Cash for Clunkers was wildly successful," said Secretary LaHood. "In a matter of weeks, Americans traded in nearly 700,000 gas-guzzlers for more fuel-efficient cars, improving the environment and providing a lifeline to the auto industry. Our program was a win for everyone, and most importantly it gave the economy a shot in the arm at a time when we desperately needed it."
More Cash for Clunkers fun here.