The Truth About Cars writes about a German program that pays drivers to get their old cars off the road:

The attack of the aging automobiles is caused by the Abwrackprämie, cash for clunkers, paid by the German government. Since January 14th, 2009, owners of cars nine years or older can collect €2.5K if they put the pile of rust out of its misery, and buy a new one.

In the beginning, the program was ridiculed. It’s not going to work, said many, owners of clunkers won’t buy new. The Green Party said it’s “a joke.” Quickly, the mood changed.

Polk Germany prognosticated that the program would result in seven percent more sales than in 2008, that’s 200K units. A few days later, a new study said 1.2m people would buy a new car because of the Abwrackprämie. Too good to be true, given that barely 3m new cars were sold in 2008, with gruesome losses in Q4 08 and an awful January.

This strikes me as a pretty good idea. For the most part, old cars get worse mileage, have worse emissions, and are less safe than new cars. It’s a simple idea but one that could be of huge benefit to the car industry, and have some environmental benefits as well. Sounds like stimulus to me.