Udall Echoes Concerns over funding source of Cash for Clunkers Program

Albuquerque, NM –
New Mexico U.S. Senator Tom Udall says the so-called "Cash for Clunkers" federal vehicle-trade-in-rebate has "turned out a lot better on the fuel-efficiency front than anybody thought".

The Democrat says the program has provided a 61 percent increase in fuel economy, as car buyers dump their old inefficient vehicles. Udall says that's saving consumers money and creating jobs for U-S car manufacturers.

But he echoes the concerns of fellow New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman over extending the program using federal renewable energy loan guarantee money. The House has voted to spend 2 billion of those dollars to do so. Still, Udall says some of his fears were allayed today in the Democrats' meeting with the president.

"A question was asked by Senator Bingaman at the luncheon at the White House with President Obama, and he said "are we going to make a commitment to replenish the funds, because those are important, you know, and several New Mexico businesses have an opportunity to get some of those funds, for example, a solar project down in Dona Ana County." And the president said he was putting his chief of staff on it right away, and he expected that to be done. So I feel much more comfortable about where the funding's coming from. I'm going to be following up with the White House and working with Senator Bingaman on that."

Udall said, though, that before the "Cash for Clunkers" program is extended a second time, after this one, an analysis needs to be done to determine other energy costs of creating new cars to feed the program.