My story about the Oklahoma rebates is here, but some data I requested from the Oklahoma Tax Commission came in too late for my deadline. I wanted to know whether the Cash for Clunkers rebates had much effect on the number of new vehicles titled by the commission. Here’s the month-by-month breakdown for January to October for 2008 and 2009:
I’m wary of drawing too many conclusions, but it looks like the number of new vehicles titled in Oklahoma did get a boost in the late summer months this year. It’s clear that new vehicle sales were pretty slow in the early part of this year. Overall, more than 8,700 vehicles in Oklahoma qualified for Cash for Clunkers rebates. Those sales were spread over the three months of the program, which ended in late August and spilled over into early September.
Paul Taylor, the chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Association, said the Cash for Clunkers program probably helped the economy in the third quarter as states received extra tax revenue and showrooms stayed busy. It may also have some spillover effects into the fourth quarter as auto manufacturers, which had slashed production in the wake of sluggish sales, ramped up production on assembly lines to replace inventory.
The Clunkers program lit up the market. Auto showrooms went from almost empty to overflowing. It’s hard to imagine how anyone who takes an objective look at the Cash for Clunkers program can reach any conclusion other than it gave a dramatic boost to retail sales and manufacturing output,” Taylor said.
The results on the environmental front are a little more mixed. Sure, some true clunkers and gas guzzlers were taken off the road and crushed in salvage yards. But many of the new vehicles bought using the rebates were trucks, so it’s done little to change consumer habits. And gas prices are down from their record highs in 2008, so that tiny economical car doesn’t look as attractive as it once did when gasoline was topping $4/gallon.
–UPDATE: If you want to download the Oklahoma data yourself, just go here. It’s a pretty large Excel file of about 5MB.
–UPDATE: I just stumbled across this Daily Show clip from last night. Apparently, the demolition-derby constituency isn’t very happy with the whole Cash for Clunkers program.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Crash for Clunkers|
Written by Paul Monies