Andrew Yang Envisions a Buyback of 'Clunker' Gas Guzzling Cars

By Susan Jones | September 5, 2019 | 9:33am EDT
A fully-electric Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4MATIC SUV automobile at a charging station. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)

( - "Are all Americans going to have to drive electric cars?" CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked Democrat presidential hopeful Andrew Yang at a town hall on climate change Wednesday night.

"Well, electric cars, it's not something you have to do. It's awesome," Yang responded, drawing laughter and applause.

"You feel like you're driving the future," Yang added. "And I did not just say that because Elon Musk endorsed me just the other week."

Blitzer pressed Yang for a definitive answer: "Are we all going to have to drive electric cars?" he asked again.

"We are going to love driving our electric cars," Yang said.

"Will we have to drive electric cars?" Blitzer asked.

"Well, there will still be some legacy gas guzzlers on the road for quite some time, because this is not a country where you're going to, like, take someone's clunker away from them," Yang said. "But you are going to offer to buy the clunker back and help them upgrade."

This should sound familiar.

In his first year as president, Barack Obama announced an initiative known as "Cash for Clunkers," which allowed people to trade in their older, less fuel-efficient cars for credits that were applied to the purchase of newer, more fuel-efficient cars.

"This gives consumers a break, reduces dangerous carbon pollution and our dependence on foreign oil, and strengthens the American auto industry," Obama said on July 31, 2009. He noted that the program was "working so well" that it would soon run out of money. And indeed it did.

The program officially began on July 1, 2009 and it ended 54 days later on August 24, when the funding was exhausted.


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