SEMA and the SEMA Action Network (SAN) are opposing efforts to revive consideration of federal funding for vehicle scrappage programs. These programs accelerate the normal retirement of vehicles through the purchase of older cars, which are then typically crushed into blocks of scrap metal.

In response to testimony delivered on Capitol Hill, SEMA sent letters to members of Congress to counter requests that tax dollars be used to entice motorists to trade in their older cars and trucks for newer models. SEMA emphasized that hobbyists would suffer with the indiscriminate destruction of older cars, trucks and parts they need if scrappage programs were expanded with federal funds.

"America safeguards its artistic and architectural heritage against indiscriminate destruction," said SEMA Vice President of Government Affairs Steve McDonald. "Our automotive and industrial heritage deserves the same protection."

SEMA has also learned that legislators may also be considering scrappage as a clean-air measure and are now in contact with these offices to explain scrappage's shortcomings as an environmental measure. Traditionally, scrappage efforts focus purely on vehicle age rather than actual emissions produced.

Enthusiasts played a vital role in defeating federal scrappage legislation in 2002 and should be prepared to counter this renewed threat to the hobby. SAN members should stay tuned for e-mail alerts and updates in Driving Force should a bill be introduced.

For more information, contact SAN Director Jason Tolleson at jasont@sema.org.

Cash For Clunkers Sounds Good, But Is Bad Policy

- Old Cars Are Valuable to Collectors, But Not Taxpayers: An unchecked Cash for Clunkers program risks destroying classic, historic and special-interest vehicles. America safeguards its artistic and architectural heritage against indiscriminate destruction. Our automotive and industrial heritage deserves the same protection.

- Cash for Clunkers Programs Do Not Take Gross Polluters Off the Road: Cash for Clunkers focus on vehicle age rather than actual emissions produced. This approach is based on the erroneous assumption that "old cars are dirty cars." However, the true culprits are "gross polluters"-vehicles of any model year that are poorly maintained.

- Squeezes Low-Income Citizens: Low-income Americans would be hurt by expanding Cash for Clunkers. Such programs reduce the supply and availability of affordable transportation and repair parts-the very cars and parts most often bought by low and fixed-income drivers.

- How Can the Federal Government Ensure that the Replacement Vehicle Is Any Cleaner?: There is no guarantee with a Cash for Clunkers program that a replacement vehicle (if there is one) will be cleaner running or more fuel-efficient than the vehicles the government paid to scrap. For example, many popular cars in 1979 achieved higher mileage ratings than 2008 vehicles.