June 10, 2009

House passes ‘gas guzzler’ bill

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a so-called gas guzzler bill that would give car buyers a voucher worth up to $4,500 for trading in older vehicles.

The bill passed 298-119 with strong support from both parties, the Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday.

The Congressional Budget Office projected auto sales could jump by 625,000 vehicles if the bill, which is headed to the Senate, makes it into law.

Some supporters of the measure were expecting an estimate of 1 million new car sales, the newspaper said.

As older cars turned in would be crushed, vehicles worth more than $4,500 would not be accepted. An estimated 25 million vehicles with mileage ratings under 18 miles per gallon are eligible for the program.

Customers would get vouchers between $3,500 and $4,500 depending on mileage of the newer vehicle.

Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., said, the need to increase demand was a necessary step in helping automakers return to profitablity.

If there is not increased demand ... restructuring cannot succeed, he said.