The Senate celebrated the imminent arrival of the annual August recess by confirming Sonia Sotomayor‘s Supreme Court nomination and ponying up an additional $2 billion for the highly successful (though dubiously green) cash-for-clunkers program. The vote was 60 to 37, with Democrats almost unanimously supporting the extension and Republicans nearly united in opposition. President Obama has said he will sign the bill ASAP.
That $2 billion, various news reports agree, will keep the program running through Labor Day. “Administration officials have said the extension will subsidize the sale of another 500,000 new vehicles. Consumers get breaks of up to $4,500 to help pay for vehicles with better mileage standards,” the Detroit News says.
A couple of interesting nuggets:
- The New York Times relays that transportation expert Lee Schipper concluded “the average fuel economy of cars bought in the first six months of this year was slightly higher than the average bought under the ‘cash for clunkers’ program in July.”
- The same Detroit News piece quoted above says two senators — Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) — “introduced legislation Thursday to reward consumers who buy fuel-efficient vehicles through a tax break or rebate. The Efficient Vehicle Leadership Act of 2009 would give tax breaks or rebates to consumers amounting to up to thousands of dollars, the senators said. Meanwhile, manufacturers would be charged a ‘fuel performance fee’ to pay for the program.”
- Autoblog Green says cash-for-clunkers “is boosting the number of new clean diesel cars on the road, says Biodiesel Magazine. Apparently, BMW’s trick is working. Another side benefit: C4C is improving the overall safety of the vehicles on the road because a lot of rides with full-powered airbags and/or a tendency be involved in single-vehicle rollover accidents have now been disabled.”
- Marketplace Radio says clunkers are flooding junkyards.
- Interested in taking advantage of the program? Check out cars.gov for the details. And the Sierra Club has a nifty tool to help you figure out if you can trade in your clunker.
- Lastly, the Senate vote is good news for these fine folks polled by The Onion about the clunker program’s sudden bankruptcy… . And HuffPo can stop wondering whether voters can trade in “clunker Republicans” under the program.