Automotive Service Association (ASA)

ASA: Cash for Clunkers failed, should not return

A new analysis from the Brookings Institution’s Ted Gayer and Emily Parker found the Cash for Clunkers initiative was inefficient as an economic stimulus and only pulled forward auto sales that would have happened regardless of the Cash for Clunkers initiative, according to the Automotive Service Association (ASA).

The study suggests that 700,000 old cars were traded in between July 1 and Aug. 24, 2009, but that consumers just bought cars slightly earlier than they would have without the initiative. The study also states cumulative purchases over the year were unchanged.
Gayer and Parker state pushing the vehicle sales boosted economic growth by $2 billion and created about 2,050 jobs, but that the program cost $1.4 million per job created – being less effective than other stimulus measures.
The study concluded that the U.S. vehicle fleet’s overall efficiency improved and carbon dioxide emissions were cut by 8.58 million to 28.3 million tons. Gayer and Parker suggested this was an inefficient way to reduce emissions because it costs between $91 and $301 per ton of carbon avoided. They determined that “in the event of a future economic recession, we would not recommend repeating the program.”
The ASA encourages members to visit ASA’s legislative website at for more on the Brookings Cash for Clunkers report and to send a letter to alert members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate as to the failure of the Cash for Clunkers program. (Click on Alerts.)
ASA advances professionalism and excellence in the automotive repair industry through education, representation and member services. For additional information about ASA, including past news releases, go to, or visit ASA’s legislative website at