Crush for Clunkers – Needs More Time

Cash for Clunkers AKA CARS program was quite successful, maybe too much so.  By the time Cash for Clunkers ended in late August, B & R Auto and Truck Recycling in rural Mapleton was nearly overflowing with junkers.

For a while, they closed the north gate to the salvage yard on the edge of Beauford so they could park clunkers in the driving lanes. They’d run out of room everywhere else on the sprawling yard.

“It got to the point where we didn’t know where we were going to put the vehicles,” said B & R owner Randy Davis.

More than two months later, about 300 of the 400 cars and trucks are still on hand. Davis isn’t worried about getting all the cars crushed by February or March as required by federal law.

“We’ll make the deadline,” Davis said.

Other salvage yards — especially those in metropolitan areas that were inundated with the 700,000 clunkers traded in nationwide — are wondering if they’ll be able to get all the cars crushed in time. One Twin Cities company still had 5,000 last month and is desperate for an extension, facing the threat of a $15,000 per vehicle fine if the deadline isn’t met.

But Davis joins other auto recyclers in calling for an extension, mainly because he doesn’t want good used car parts to be crushed and partly because he’d prefer not to be forced to meet a deadline that falls in the depth of a Minnesota winter.

The cars and trucks without much potential for providing spare parts are the ones that have already been crushed at B & R. The remaining vehicles have useful parts Davis would prefer to remove and have some car owner reuse.

The program aims to put the gas guzzlers out of commission, so the cylinder blocks and cylinder heads can’t be reused. But other parts on the vehicle can — if there’s enough time to salvage them.

“There’s going to be a lot of good parts cars out here that are going to be crushed (if the deadline isn’t extended),” he said. “And that’s a waste.”

Program gave boost

The Cash for Clunkers program gave owners of certain gas-guzzling vehicles a federal rebate of up to $4,500 if they traded their old car or truck in for a more fuel-efficient vehicle. Auto dealers used companies such as B & R to clear the clunkers from their lots.

The point of the program was to boost the economy, particularly the fortunes of auto manufacturers and dealers, while reducing air pollution. Davis said the program had a positive impact on his business, prompted a couple of employees to be added to the payroll and kept his existing employees hopping.

So like most recyclers we are hoping this program continues but for goodness sakes give us time to clean this mess up.