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]