Monday, November 26, 2007

State Program to Replace Old Vehicles Delayed.....

A program that allows low-income drivers to replace old vehicles with the help of 3500 dollars towards a new vehicle purchase has been delayed. It may seem like a joke to some, but the officials of the state program deeply consider it to be beneficial. This article was posted in the Houston Chronicle, and it caught my attention because I recently purchased a new car at 19 years of age and if this program would have been available then, I would have postpone my purchase until January of 2008 to possibly save 3500 dollars. Now, that would have been nice, but there is a lot more to this deal then what’s being acknowledged. I drove a 1988-year model truck, so I would have met the requirements of the vehicle being at least 10 years old. However, that is only a small portion of the rules concerning those who are eligible.

The main goal for the state program is to keep our environment clean and reduce the pollution put out into the air from older vehicles. Starting in 1996, automakers equipped U.S. vehicles with more sophisticated and precise fuel-injection systems, better sensors, and improved computers to meet the clean air standards. Therefore, the previous year models are highly risking our atmosphere.

I completely believe in doing anything possible to keep our environment clean, and I feel getting older vehicles off the roads would indeed help. On the other hand, I think the program is overlooking the reason for why low-income drivers are driving old vehicles. The last thing the low-income class is worrying about is environmental issue when it comes to the year model of their transportation. Financially, people just can’t always afford to upgrade their vehicle to a more recent car or truck, or they can’t make monthly payments due to other expenses. So, they drive what they have because it gets them where they need to go whether it’s old or barely running.

My point is, I don’t think giving a 3500-dollar voucher toward a new vehicle will be helping the low-income class. For example, one of the qualifications is that the owner’s annual income cannot exceed 61,950 dollars for a family of four. Also, the car cannot cost more than 25,000 dollars. For some families driving a new car is not a priority when their annual income is low, and I don’t think many are going to see this voluntary option as a way to get ahead. I realize the state has up to 100 million dollars available for the program and believes to get at least 40,000 old vehicles off the road in the Dallas and Houston areas.

The article states that, “the hang-up now is with the salvage crushers used on the car once they have been retired.” Hopefully if this program becomes effective, then the disposal process will follow after the car is turned over and not used for other purposes since the whole point was to stop the pollution from invading our environment. In other words, the program needs to prepare for negative conflict and income boundaries.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I agree with my classmate's view in that low-income families probably don't want to, or can't, take on payments for a brand new car. The state is in the process of putting in place a new program that will give low-income families $3500 to put towards a new car. They must meet certain requirements like not making above a certain amount of money a year, and drive a car that is older than 10 years old. The purpose of the program is to try to take some of the older vehicles off of the roads that may produce more emissions.

I work for a car dealership, and when we received this letter from the state, I first thought it was an okay idea, until I thought about it a little more. We, of course, service the new vehicles with the new computers and parts that are supposed to cut down on emissions. And they work great. Except, when these parts start to go bad, and they are out of warranty, wow are they expensive to replace! That is not what a low-income family needs. Plus, newer cars are generally more expensive to maintain. So not only are we forcing these families to take on a new car payment, pay full coverage insurance until the vehicle is payed off, but then we are giving them more expensive maintenance on the new vehicles. If a person is struggling to barely live right now, they can't afford that. If a person does decide to apply for the program and buy a new car, what happens when they can't make the payments on it and it gets repossessed? Then they are left without transportation. Or what happens when a part brakes on it and it costs an outrageous amount to replace? They are then stuck without a vehicle.

With the annual income caps that they are putting on this program, I think they are creating more problems then they are solving. If their purpose is to get older vehicles of the road, then they need to offer a little more assistance than just $3500. Or they need to raise the caps, or maybe allow a person to buy a newer model car, but allow it to be used.

I, of course, agree that something needs to be done about the emissions because our environment is spiraling downward, fast. But I don't think this program will do much to help it. I think the state is just creating more problems for itself in other areas.