Fed spent 24K per car under Cash for Clunkers program…really edmunds.com?

24,000.00 USD per car.

That's a lot of zeros and a lot of money, but a new report on CNN and attributed to Edmunds.com basically states that the Fed spent not $4,000 per car but $24,000 per car under the recent Cash for Clunker program.

Here's the logic and math as reported on CNN:

"The average rebate was $4,000. But the overwhelming majority of sales
would have taken place anyway at some time in the last half of 2009,
according to Edmunds.com. That means the government ended up spending
about $24,000 each for those 125,000 additional vehicle sales."

Now that's some terrific statistical analysis that we can all embrace.

For instance, I would suggest that you apply that logic immediately to weight loss.

Let's call it the edmunds.com diet.

Here's what I mean. I just bought and ate a box of doughnuts because they were on sale at the grocery store.

Now, if I apply edmunds.com logic, I would have bought those doughnuts anyway in the last half of 2009.

But because I bought and ate them today (since they were on sale) I've just lost 25 pounds.

See it's just that simple to lose weight under the edmunds.com diet.

You maybe wondering how does this "magic" diet works.

Well the edmunds.com diet makes a few basic assumptions:

1) Since I bought the doughnuts today this means I won't buy any more doughnuts for the rest of the year. That assumption is worth at least 100K in extra calories.

2) The discounted cheap (and of course one-time-only low price) was the only reason I bought the delicious doughnuts. In other words, if they were not on sale I would not have purchased them and that's another 100K in extra calories.

3) Finally, and perhaps most importantly the edmunds.com diet makes a lot of critical assumptions about about how many doughnuts I (and especially you) buy just because they are on sale.

What if those assumptions are just plain wrong?

Perhaps the government spent not a mere 24K per car, but in fact 48K per car. It's not all that hard to image that number…just manipulate the stats a wee bit more to your liking. Because who's to really say how many cars would have been purchased with or without the government rebates at a time when the economy was melting down.

But don't fret that's great news because now we can assume (using the fantastic edmunds.com diet) we'll lose a much grander 50 pounds by the end of the year, and not just 25.

And that's got to be a great reason to go out to buy and eat even more doughnuts.

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Roman Roman Mica is a columnist, journalist, and author, who spent his early
years driving fast on the German autobahn. When he's not reviewing cars
for the active set, you can find him training for triathlons and
writing about endurance sports for, EverymanTri.com.