Margaret Kelliher, the former Dallas County judge turned environmental advocate, spoke to the Texas Environmental Council last week. One of her topics was a forthcoming state program that will give $3,000 rebates to low-income drivers to trade-in pre-1996 vehicles for cars made in 2006 or later. The theory is that older cars pollute more than newer models.
Kelliher, according to someone at the meeting (they told me I could use their name, but sometimes discretion is the better part of valor), had several objections to the program. She thought the income limit to be eligible — $30,600 — might be too high. She also said she didn’t see how the program would be successful since the rebate can’t be used on cars costing more than $25,000. How is it possible to buy a car, she asked the group, for less than $25,000?
That elicited quite a few blank looks, said the person at the meeting. It’s not so much that the average price of a new car in the U.S. is $28,000, which means half of the cars sold cost less than that. It wasn’t even that a Toyota Prius, the hybrid that’s the poster child for being green, has an MSRP of about $21,000. Rather, it was that Kelliher was so out of touch with the real world. Apparently, she has not figured out that not everyone owns Lexus ($38,800 MSRP) or Acura SUVs ($40,000 MSRP).
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