Commentary: Dealers get Cash for Clunkers windfall

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California was right — the first time.

The so-called Cash for Clunkers program, she wrote in a June column published in the Wall Street Journal, was "expertly designed to provide Detroit one last windfall in selling off gas guzzlers currently sitting on dealer lots because they're not a smart buy."

Edmunds.com released its "Top 10 Clunker Buys" list this week, based on transaction data collected from dealers, and two large pickup trucks (Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado) and three SUVs (Ford Escape, Jeep Patriot and Honda CRV) are among the Top 10 buys.

As Feinstein has noted, under the clunker program, you can get $4,500 to trade in a 2005 four-wheel drive Chevy Silverado for a 2009 four-wheel drive Chevy Silverado that gets a mere 15 miles per gallon in the city, 20 mpg on the highway.

The program, as Feinstein predicted, encourages people to buy cars with only slightly better gas mileage than the cars they're trading in. Big is still in.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Sacramento Bee.