Bill should be scrapped
March 7, 2002
Senate Bill s.1766, introduced by Senator Tom Daschele (D-S.D.) and Senator Bingaman (R-N.M.), would federally fund scrappage programs for vehicles over 15 years old. Owners who turn in vehicles for crushing will receive a “minimal” payment and a future credit toward purchase of a newer vehicle.
While a purported effort to improve overall national fuel economy by retiring old vehicles, this bill is a serious threat to automobile collectors and hobbyists. It should also be seen not so much as a “recycling” effort but also as a method for the auto industry to shorten the longevity and design quality of their vehicles.
Older vehicles are a means of transportation for many low-income people. Older vehicles also provide a historical comparison method of built quality and offer the platform for innovation and modification by hobbyists.
The bill as proposed requires that federally funded state scrappage programs crush every car. This threatens enthusiasts nationwide with the loss of vehicle parts and parts-cars for restoration.
The bill also does not require the states to determine the fuel efficiency of vehicles being scrapped or that the vehicles be replaced by more efficient vehicles (purportedly the reason for the program).
Eliminating auto salvage parts for collectible cars will essentially remove from history the progressive development (especially smaller manufacturers and foreign cars) and once again primarily benefit the large (read, dominant) corporations and steel remanufacture industry.
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Finally, this program also ignores the development of a true recycling program and instead promotes just total scrappage or obliteration of vehicle parts.
It ignores the more socially responsible and cost-effective policy options like voluntary vehicle repair and upgrade programs that maximize the fuel efficiency of existing vehicles. Lower income people would be better served by repair programs than by a small credit toward a new car that they may not be able to afford.
If you can read between the lines you will see that mandatory scrappage, which is not quite the same as recycling, will eliminate many vehicle restoration projects. It will also help to alleviate “legal problems” such as those recently nasty Ford Explorers.
Then we can “crush away” old product liability and design issues such as the rollover suspension designs of almost all SUVs. Basic physics say that the BMW X5, etc., will roll over easier than a conventional automobile.
We do have an established auto salvage industry that provides some degree of recycling of usable parts as well as crushing of excess iron. From foreign collectible cars, to customs, to four-wheelers, this legislation will damage every vehicle niche now and into the future.
Please call Sen. Wayne Allard at 970-245-9553 in Grand Junction and Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell in Grand Junction at 970-241-6631, and let them know that you would like to be able to look for old parts when you want to and that you would like those older vehicles to be available for restoration.
Sven Erik Alstrom, AIA