Despite the fact that the recent Clunker Car bandwagon has pulled off the side of the road for a break (of undetermined length), the damage has been done and the effects from the program are still piled up in dealerships around the country. The uneducated are still uneducated as far as the "realities" lurking behind the government's curtain of publicity. And as for the environment, I doubt it's noticed much improvement, if any, as a result of the Cash for Clunkers charade.

Among its numerous shortcomings, Cash for Clunkers was poorly defined, which allowed it to blanket-target old cars instead of narrowing its focus on '80s-90s vehicles and provide some relief for earlier models. I've read statements from lawmakers and government officials praising the program, and even how much money was spent (or was "supposed" to be)-nearly $3 billion! I can think of a lot of better ways to spend that kind of money. The government now owns roughly 700,000 used cars, which they can't even drive if they wanted to, and most are being stored, free of charge, at all the gracious new car dealerships that had to participate. Ain't that great?!

The icing on the cake is based on a new recipe (2 quarts of a sodium silicate) that replaces the engine oil in all the clunker vehicles. Once the engine is run and has reached a certain temp, the "liquid glass" seizes the entire rotating assembly. Bye-bye drivetrain parts. There was no provision made to exclude any particular vehicles from those accepted for turn-in during the rebate program. This ought to put a nice dent in the parts remanufacturing business, I'd imagine.

While all this has been going on-the media hype, the manufacturer roller coaster ride, etc.-one thing that caught my attention was a TV commercial. In contrast to what I was used to hearing, Castrol had the smarts (at least it seems so) to promote the exact opposite: "Save" your old car! What a novel idea. And now that new car sales have plunged nearly 25 percent since the stimulus BS ended, hopefully that's just what everyone who didn't fall for the clunker crap will do! Save it-and keep it running!