U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Sam Brownback (R-KS) today introduced the Drive America Forward Act (S.1135). The bill will save jobs and help remove less-efficient cars from the road. Once signed into law it will provide consumers with a voucher to help pay for the purchase or qualified lease of a new, more efficient vehicle. Similar legislation was recently introduced in the House.
"After months of hard work with the Obama Administration and members of Congress, I am pleased to join with a bipartisan group of Senators to introduce legislation that will provide a much-needed boost to our auto industry during these dark economic times," said Stabenow. "This bill is a win-win for Michigan and the country. Not only will we provide incentives to bring people back into dealer showrooms, but we will remove less fuel-efficient vehicles from our roads helping to reduce pollution in our environment and preserve our way or life. Bottom line, this legislation will help stimulate new car and truck sales, saving good-paying jobs in the process."
"The bipartisan legislation introduced today by Senator Stabenow and me will give the American economy a much-needed boost by giving money from the stimulus package directly to citizens," said Brownback. "The legislation will also give a great boost to the struggling auto industry. It's important to note that the bill is responsibly financed by money already allocated through the stimulus package and will not require funding through additional deficit spending."
Consumers may trade in their older vehicles and receive vouchers worth up to $4,500 toward the purchase or qualified lease of a new, more fuel-efficient car or truck. The program will be authorized for up to one year and provide for approximately one million new car or truck purchases. The legislation divides these new cars and trucks into four categories.
The mpg values are EPA combined city/highway fuel economy as posted on the window sticker of new vehicles and can be found at fueleconomy.gov.
The trade-in vehicles must:
Be in drivable condition
Be continuously insured and registered to the same owner for at least one year
Have a combined fuel economy value of 18 mpg or less (Work trucks must be pre-2002 regardless of mpg)
Not be more than 25 years old with historic or aesthetic value. These vehicles are valued by hobbyists or are a valuable source of restoration parts.
Funding: Redirected recovery funds identified by the Obama Administration for this purpose
Length: One yearfrom March 30, 2009 to 12 months after the rules have been implemented. Retroactive for a $3,500 voucher if the owner can prove that the person was the registered owner
and can prove that the vehicle was scrapped in accordance with the requirements in the program.
The new vehicle must have a manufacturer's suggested retail price of less than $45,000
Passenger Cars: The older vehicle must get 18 mpg or less. New passenger cars with mileage of at least 22 mpg are eligible for vouchers. If the mileage of the new car is at least 4 mpg higher than the old vehicle, the voucher will be worth $3,500. If the mileage of the new car is at least 10 mpg higher than the old vehicle, the voucher will be worth $4,500.
Small Trucks and SUVs: The old vehicle must get 18 mpg or less. New small trucks or SUVs with mileage of at least 18 mpg are eligible for vouchers. If the mileage of the new truck or SUV is at least 2 mpg higher than the old vehicle, the voucher will be worth $3,500. If the mileage of the new truck or SUV is at least 5 mpg higher than the old vehicle, the voucher will be worth $4,500.
Large Light-Duty Trucks: The old vehicle must get 18 mpg or less. New large trucks (pick-ups and vans weighing between 6,000 and 8,500 pounds) with mileage of at least 15 mpg are eligible for vouchers. If the mileage of the new truck is at least 1 mpg higher than the old truck, the voucher will be worth $3,500. If the mileage of the new truck is at least 2 mpg higher than the old truck, the voucher will be worth $4,500.
Work Trucks: Under the agreement, consumers can trade in a pre-2002 work truck (defined as a pick-up truck or cargo van weighing from 8,500-10,000 pounds) and receive a voucher worth $3,500 for a new work truck in the same or smaller weight class. Only 7.5 percent of the total funds can be used for vouchers for the purchase or lease of a work truck. There are no EPA mileage measures for these trucks; however, because newer models are cleaner than older models, the age requirement ensures that the trade will improve environmental quality. Consumers can also "trade down," receiving a $3,500 voucher for trading in an olderwork truck and purchasing a pick-up or van weighing between 6,000-8,500 lbs.
The bipartisan legislation is cosponsored by Senators Durbin (D-IL), Voinovich (R-OH), Levin (D-MI), Brown (D-OH), Mikulski (D-MD), and Lieberman (I-CT).