The hotly-debated Cash for Clunkers legislation is on its way to President Obama's desk tonight, oddly enough as part of a larger bill that will continue funding the military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. After a late Republican-backed effort to halt the passage of the bill failed, the Senate voted 60-36 to approve the legislation after some last minute phone calls from the President swayed a few swing voters. It seems extremely likely that President Obama will sign the bill into law in short order.

Under this bill, new car purchasers who trade in a vehicle that manages 18 mpg or less for a new vehicle that achieves at least 22 mpg will receive a $3,500 voucher, or $4,500 if the mileage of the new vehicle is 10 mpg higher than the previous vehicle. SUV, pickup truck and minivan buyers are eligible for a $3,500 voucher if their vehicle gets at least two mpg higher than their trade-in and $4,500 if the vehicle gets five mpg more than their older model.

Not surprisingly, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is pleased that the bill has passed votes in both the House and Senate. Says Alliance President and CEO Dave McCurdy:
This legislation has been one of our top priorities. It will help restore consumer confidence in the economy by stimulating vehicle sales; while at the same time benefiting the environment by replacing older vehicles with cleaner and more fuel-efficient autos.
The environmental merits of this particular bill are sure to be debated for at least as long as the $1 billion in funding keeps the program active. Click past the break for a press release from the Auto Alliance.

[Source: AP via Google, Auto Alliance | Photo: kudzuplanet]

PRESS RELEASE:

Automakers Praise Senate Passage of "Cash for Clunkers"

Washington, D.C. – The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Alliance) praised the Senate for passage of the fleet modernization, or "Cash for Clunkers" legislation. The proposal will now go to President Obama where it is expected to be signed into law. The Department of Transportation has already started working on the program's implementation and will be announcing more information soon.

"This legislation has been one of our top priorities. It will help restore consumer confidence in the economy by stimulating vehicle sales; while at the same time benefitting the environment by replacing older vehicles with cleaner and more fuel-efficient autos," said Alliance President and CEO Dave McCurdy. "Cash for clunkers will benefit everyone from the consumer looking for the extra incentive to purchase a new car, to the communities who will receive additional tax revenue from the sales of new vehicles."

Around the world, consumers are already benefitting from similar programs, and the resulting economic stimulus has been significant. In January, Germany implemented a fleet modernization program. At the end of the first month of the program, sales in Germany were up 21% over 2008. Corresponding sales in the U.S. were down 41% for the same period. As of this writing, fleet modernization programs have been adopted in China, UK, Brazil, Spain, Austria, France, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Slovakia, and are under consideration in several others.

Details of the program including vehicle eligibility requirements will soon be found at www.cars.gov.


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