Cash for Clunkers or ‘Pimp My Pickup’?

The most common trade under the $3 billion Cash for Clunkers program involved Ford F150 pickup truck owners trading for, well, new Ford F150s, netting an improvement of just 1 to 3 mpg, the Associated Press is reporting. That trade happened 8,200 times. Thousands of other pickup owners used our tax dollars their clunker cash on new Chevy Silverados and Dodge Rams.

Worse, more than half a million dollars in rebates somehow went for autos that got equal or lesser mileage. The government is investigating.

The federal program was billed from the start as good news for our economy, the environment and consumers’ pocketbooks. Overall, it netted a 60 percent improvement in fuel economy between the trade-in and new cars purchased, according to the Transportation Department, which called the program “enormously successful.”

If you got $3,500 to $4,500 for your new rig, you probably don’t disagree.