Why Would You Give Away a Perfectly Good Car?

Staff Blog

Staff Blog | Feb 06, 2012

Shameless self-promotion: We talk about our Car Talk Vehicle Donation Program quite a lot--both on the show and here on our little web site. We think it's a great program-- this year, we'll write checks for more than five million dollars for NPR stations around the country.

But, we've wondered, just what kind of person would give away a perfectly good car?  We decided to get to the bottom of it.  So, we sent a highly unscientific survey out to folks who have recently given up their rides to benefit their local stations. We asked them, "What on earth were you thinking?!"

We just got the results back from our friend Paul Murky, at Murky Research LLC.  Paul told us that vehicle donors are 44% altruistic, 36% lazy, 12% greedy and 8% mysterious.

We're guessing the unaccounted 8% stands for, "Forgot we donated, was wondering where the car is parked!"
We're guessing the unaccounted 8% stands for, "Forgot we donated, was wondering where the car is parked!"

Paul's research, as you can tell, is a bit suspect.

What were our real findings? That the chance to support their local NPR stations, avoid the hassle of a private sale, and the ability to score a sweet tax deduction were the top three reasons Car Talk fans decided to donate their cars.

Here are some of the comments that survey respondents gave for their answers-- along with our translations:

1. Equally all three - tax deduction, supporting NPR and less hassle than selling my poor-condition vehicle.

  • Car Talk translation: Can I pick all three? I hate hurting people's feelings.

2. I really enjoy Car Talk and also loved my car, so I thought it was a way to contribute to NPR and honor my car.

  • Car Talk translation: You &*)(&% make me listen to that lousy show every weekend? Here you go. I hope Nina Totenberg drives it and it breaks down on the steps of the Supreme Court and bursts into flames.

3. My car has some transmission issues, so I did not want to sell it.  Donating made more sense.

  • Car Talk translation: I am scared of being sued by a buyer.

4. Had to move out of state and needed the car gone.

  • Car Talk translation: I borrowed money from the mob, and I can't repay it.

Vehicle donors, whatever your reasons, Car Talk thanks you all for your support!

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