From a strictly consumer standpoint, some experts contend the Cash for Clunkers program is not a great deal. Yes, if you are bent on buying something brand new, you will save money. But the savings are nothing compared with how well you can do by buying a used car.
New cars typically depreciate 20 to 30 percent in just the first year, according to the auto Web site Edmunds.com. By year three, their value is down an average of 45 percent.
Edmunds says the average sale price of a brand new car is $27,800, whereas the average price of a used car is $13,900. That's a savings of roughly $14,000 achieved simply by letting somebody else be the chump who buys the brand new vehicle.
Still want to be green? There are plenty of three-year-old vehicles with excellent fuel economy. The technology hasn't changed much in the past few years. It's also a great time to buy used because cars and trucks are increasingly reliable these days. They can easily chug along for 200,000 miles with few problems.
So you decide. Would you rather save $4,000? Or $14,000?