"Cash for Clunkers" Bad for Environment?

Congress has passed a $2 billion extension of the "Cash for Clunkers" program that provides incentives for new car buyers to trade in old gas-guzzlers for more fuel-efficient cars. But not everyone likes the program.

As CBS News correspondent Terrell Brown reported on "The Early Show" Friday, auto parts recyclers say the program is putting a dent in their profits.

"Cash for Clunkers" is said to be environmentally-friendly, with more crushed cars and new scrap metal. However, parts recyclers say the program is trashing car engines that could be salvageable.

Michael Wilson, vice president of the Automotive Recyclers Association, said, "We think a much more efficient program would have been to encourage recycled parts usage."

Though some parts may be salvaged before the vehicle is crushed, the engines must be destroyed, due to a "Cash for Clunkers" rule designed to keep the vehicles from being resold and the gas-guzzling engines from being rebuilt and put back on the road.

Brown reported dealers are told to destroy the engine by replacing the car's oil supply with sodium silicate, then running it until it dies.

Tim Malone, who owns Brookfield Auto Wreckers in Elmsford, N.Y., told Brown, "After that, it's just scrap metal."

However, with the engine destroyed, many cars bypass the parts recyclers and go straight to the salvage yards.

Wilson said, "All those parts that could have been reused to help out the environment will go right to a scrap processor."
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