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Thank you, U.S. taxpayers

I believe I have received the direct* largess of the government twice in my life. While I was in college, I got food stamps for a couple months. I received a National Defense Loan for $500 which was forgiven because I taught in an impoverished area for two years as a new teacher. Below is the third, and probably last, federal handout I'll get: the Obamobile.


My "Cash for Clunkers" application was approved, my trusty Ford Ranger is heading to the scrap heap, and I picked up a bright blue Toyota Yaris** two-door yesterday morning. I wanted a yellow one so it would look like a lemon, but none were available. A friend told the LWW that it was probably a good thing I didn't get yellow since "everyone would then know where I went." Which makes me wonder why I don't about these places I shouldn't be going.

In my case, the clunkers program worked as intended. My truck got about 16mpg; the Yaris is supposed to get 36mpg***. Had the incentive not been available, I'm sure I would have made some repairs to the Ranger and kept on driving it for another five years or so. I am notoriously cheap about cars - driving them until lifeless.

I will miss having a pickup, but the reality is, we don't really need one. While I like to think driving such a manly vehicle did something for my image, my image is pretty much a lost cause - even with a gun rack. It will be far less expensive to rent a truck the few times we actually need a truck - hauling dirt, putting the dock in and taking it out, taking the rider mower in for service - than to own a truck. But if any manufacturer still made a small truck that got over 25mpg, I'd have bought one.

Anway, I've done my bit to stimulate the economy.

* I do realize I am the indirect recipient of many government services - roads, public safety, education, defense, etc.

** Translation from the Japanese: cheap bastard.

*** I really wanted a Smart Car, but we have no local dealership. I'd still like to think 36mpg qualifies this as an "above average in intelligence" car, if not actually smart.

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Reader Comments (12)

My 1994 Caravan does not qualify--its mileage is just slightly too good for the clunker program, even though we would like to use it to get a car that gets twice the mileage.

Congrats on your new car, though--glad to see the mileage boost.

Might make up for those who trade one SUV for another with only 2 mpg improvement.

(I'm just sore because we missed out. Still, I wish the gummint would call it what it is, and not hide behind the mileage nonsense.)

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Doyle

Hi Michael,

Had I designed the program, I would have given the rebate to anyone who traded any vehicle in on one that got 10mpg more.


August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

No on the Smartcar, you did the right thing. A Yaris or a Honda Fit get about the same mileage as those so-called smart cars and at least have a little bit more room (and are safer). Congrats on the new wheels!

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterteacherninja

My minivan does qualify, but I am a notorious cheapskate and I HATE a car payment. So I am all busy resisting this particular temptation.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercarolyn

Good for you! The car looks great ;)

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAngie Wassenmiller

I love pickups. There might be some withdrawal with your choice.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPaul C

Would that be cartus interruptus?
(Feel free to delete, Doug.)



August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Doyle

I LOVE my new Ford Escape Hybrid!!!! Yippee "Cash for Clunkers" program.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKC

You'll love it! My Yaris (automatic) routinely gets 42 mpg and, occasionally, better.

August 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRPS

Hi Ninja,

I've yet to talk to anyone who raves about the Smart car. The convertible version is just so damn cute though!


Hi Carolyn,

Yeah, had my truck not become unreliable, I'd have resisted myself. I am another cheapskate when it comes to wheels.


Hi Paul,

Trying to convince my brother to sell me his '97 Toyota that gets 27mpg without much success. Hoping by the time I need a new vehicle, there will be trucks that are more economical.

Hope you are having a nice vacation.


Hi Michael,

Delete because it is racy or corny?


42mpg. My new goal!

August 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

Interesting that you got a foreign car... perhaps they should not have bothered to bail out GM and Chrysler and instead put all that money into "Cash For Clunkers" to help out the big 3 "Toyota, Honda and Hyundai"

August 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterthebloke

Hi Bloke,

I thought about this for a long time before buying a Toyota. It came down to some of these factors:

Toyota has factories in the US. Ford has plants all over the world.
Auto parts are made all over the world. GM car parts are made everywhere.
The guy who owns the local Toyota dealership is a US citizen. As is the salesman who gets the commission. As are the service guys who will be working on the car one day..

And to be honest, buying from Ford, Chrysler or GM would be endorsing companies that lack vision and good management. I can't condone any "bail out" - direct or indirect of them.

I am sure your comment reflects the thoughts of many.

All the best,


August 10, 2009 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

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