• Jun 19, 2009
After narrowly surviving an attempt by Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H. to strip it from a war-spending bill, the Cash for Clunkers program passed the Senate yesterday evening. Well, the $106 billion war-spending bill passed the Senate on a 91-5 vote, but the $1 billion scrapping program earlier survived Sen. Gregg's attempt to have it removed and thus passed, as well. Now the bill makes its way to President Obama, who is expected to sign the bill into law, after which the U.S. Transportation Department reportedly has one month to figure out how the Cash for Clunkers program will be run. Since Congress reduced funding for the program from $4 billion to just $1 billion, it's expected that the money will run out long before the program is scheduled to end on November 1.

The Cash for Clunkers program is intended to aid automakers and their dealers, including imports, by offering vouchers worth between $3,500 and $4,500 to car buyers willing to trade in their old vehicles for new, more fuel efficient ones. The program's eligibility rules, however, are stiff. Trade-in vehicles have to be in drivable condition, insured by the same owner for the last year, manufactured in 1984 or later and have a combined EPA fuel economy rating of 18 mpg or less.

The new car being purchased must also achieve at least 22 mpg combined in order to receive the $3,500 voucher and be 10 mpg better than your trade-in to earn the $4,500 voucher. For light trucks and SUVs, the new vehicle must get 2 mpg better than the old one for $3,500 and 5 mpg better for $4,500. Reported estimates say around 250,000 car shoppers will be able to take advantage of the program, so don't sell your clunker on Craigslist if you want to be one of them.

[Source: The Detroit Free Press | Photo by Kevin Burkett | CC2.0]


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  • 43 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      This makes me want to puke
      • 5 Years Ago
      Veto this crap.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Zero chance of that. The President had to do some last minute wheeling and dealing, making promises to several senators, to get enough votes to let it pass. He certainly didn't go to all that effort just so he could veto it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Nice! My daughter has a '96 Grand Cherokee she wants to get rid of.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The trade in value is zero? There goes my plan.
      • 5 Years Ago
      is that true, it is only for 1984 and newer (later) cars, or is that printed wrong and should be 1984 and earlier cars?
        • 5 Years Ago
        1984 and newer cars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So is the 3500/4500 voucher on top of the trade-in price or are you basically giving your car for free and getting paid by the government?

      Also, is there a cap on the price of the new car you buy? I need a new BMW.
        • 5 Years Ago
        No trade-in value, you only get the $3500 or $4500, as the case may be. So the car has to be so old and crappy it's worth less than that amount to do you any good.

        The price cap for the new car you are buying is $45,000. You could get a BMW for that as long as you would be satisfied with one of the cheaper ones.
      • 5 Years Ago
      18 -> 22 mpg combines gets you $3,500 from a severely debted country?

      Wow. Not nearly strict enough.
        • 5 Years Ago
        No Joke. A 4mpg improvement? Yet I cannot clunker my 21mpg buick century for a 40mpg fit or fiesta?
        • 5 Years Ago
        What 40 mpg Fit or Fiesta? The Fit isn't rated for even close to 40 mpg, and I doubt the Fiesta will be either. In any event the money for this program will run out long before you can buy a new Fiesta in the U.S.
        • 5 Years Ago
        oh, look there goes my money again...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, that much money for a small increase in mpg is bad. It's the only way this bill passed though. If every replacement vehicle had to get >= 27 mpg, then the domestics would be screwed for the most part.

        Yes, the domestics have several vehicles rated at or above 27 mpg, but the sales would be skewed towards foreign badges, and that wouldn't sit well being funded by our tax bucks.

        A great indicator of which Big three company will be around in 2 or 3 years is how they respond to increased sales of 08-09 suvs and pickup trucks. If they increase production of those vehicles, they will fail. If they acknowledge it's an inventory reduction, and keep on making more efficient vehicles, they will probably survive.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think I shat a little. This is really happening?!
      • 5 Years Ago
      How many people are using vehicles built before 1984 as daily drivers, though?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think you are misreading it Jaymez. It's only for cars made in or after 1984. So a 1985 car would be eligible, but a 1983 car would not.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think that was part of the point. Collectors were worried that people with old cars would get them scrapped to get the credit, which would hurt the used parts market for collectibles. This is supposed to stop you from scrapping your muscle car from the 1960's and depriving someone else of your radiator (or whatever).
        • 5 Years Ago
        OK, that makes a whole lot more sense.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Because this definitely belongs in a war spending bill.

      More stupid spending of non-existent money by an incompetent government.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Luis

        Terrible argument.

        Why does one waste of money mean we should waste more?

        2 stupid ideas are better than 1?

        Any help to the economy caused by this will be more than offset by the inflation from printing money to fund it and the taxes on our children and grandchildren to pay of the massive increases in national debt created by this irresponsible administration and congress.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, I think the trillion+ we've spent in Iraq is far more outrageous.

        Thank you very much.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Now, I have a 1999 Hyundai Sonata. According to http://fueleconomy.net/feg/noframes/15110.shtml , the combined MPG is 21. It's certainly much worse than that, around 17 MPG. Which do they use? I really want a Camaro.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It uses the new mileage figures that the EPA started using in 2008. If you look at the www.fueleconomy.gov website, it gives you the numbers based on the new (lower) ratings, which is what you want for this purpose.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So I'm not eligible :(
      • 5 Years Ago
      "For light trucks and SUVs, the new vehicle must get 2 mpg better than the old one for $3,500 and 5 mpg better for $4,500."

      what if I have a truck that gets 17 miles per gallon and I trade it in for a car? Do I get $4500 for a 5 mpg increase? Or do I have to buy another truck?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I matters what you buy, not what you trade-in, to determine how much you get. If you are buying a passenger car, you get $3500 if...

        "the new fuel efficient automobile is a passenger automobile and the combined fuel economy value of such automobile is at least 4 miles per gallon higher than the combined fuel economy value of the eligible trade-in vehicle"

        To get the full $4500 while buying a passenger car, you'd have to buy a car that gets 10 mpg better than the old vehicle, or 27 mpg in your case. But you could buy some small car-based SUV, like a Subaru Forester for example, and get the full $4500 because you only have to increase efficiency by 5 mpg for a truck to get $4500.

        That's the dumb part. It encourages you to buy an SUV over a car. In your case you'd get more money buying a 22 mpg Forester than a 25 mpg sedan. The should have just said 5 mpg improvement gets you $3500, and 10 mpg improvement gets you $4500, regardless of whether you are buying a car or a truck.
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