Loser: Despite its popularity among buyers of new cars, the federal Cash for Clunkers program can't escape the reality that all government handouts create winners and losers. This week we learned that the mom-and-pop used-car dealerships are losing big time. An Associated Press report said some of them are going out of business as the kinds of cars they offer for sale are being junked, taken off the market permanently, by the federal program. Other losers: people looking for a cheap car; and the rest of the economy in general. Great as it was for the new-car business, Cash for Clunkers didn't do much for the overall retail market, which declined in July.

Winner: Amid all the auto industry's troubles, GM this week said its new Chevy Volt, a new type of electric hybrid, can get 230 mpg in the city — if you remember to plug it in at night.

Loser: Even at 230 mpg, an electric car doesn't solve the nation's energy problems. Electricity has to come from somewhere. Unless the nation wants to be sensible and embrace more nuclear power, the only way to meet the growing demand right now is by generating it in ways that harm the environment. That isn't to say the Volt is a lump of coal. It's just powered by one.

Winner: Salt Lake County officially created a new Unified Police Department this week, with the elected sheriff acting as the chief executive. For cities that contract with the sheriff for police services, this provides a lot more control through membership on a board that handles the budget and policy matters. We hope this is the first step toward a department that eventually includes all cities countywide. The only losers in that type of arrangement would be criminals.

Winner: For the second time, Salt Lake City International Airport was ranked by Travel and Leisure Magazine as No. 1 in the nation for on-time travel. Only 12 percent of flights during the study period were delayed more than 15 minutes. Of course, considering that, for many travelers, their only visit to Utah consists of a few minutes between connecting flights, maybe a better tourism strategy would be to stretch things out a bit.