It's looking increasingly likely that the United States will soon have its own Cash for Clinkers program. Two bills are currently competing for Congressional votes, and while they would both offer sizable rewards for turning in older vehicles, they vary in what new cars and trucks would qualify for the program.

One bill, sponsored by Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio), would give the largest voucher – up to $5,000 – to purchasers of new vehicles made in the United States. Slightly smaller amounts would be granted for other vehicles made in the rest of North America and no cash would be granted for the purchase of foreign-made cars. All cars would need to manage at least 27 mpg to qualify, trucks would need to hit at least 24 mpg.

The other bill, sponsored by Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), would offer up to $4,500 for the purchase of a new vehicle assuming the trade-in got 18 mpg or less and the new vehicle was at least 25 percent better than average for its class. No distinction would be made based on the vehicle's country of origin.

According to Israel, the two sides are 90 percent of the way to an acceptable compromise. Even after an agreement is reached on a final bill, policymakers will need to figure out how to come up with the (up to) $4 billion that the program would cost and what exactly to do with the so-called clunkers.

[Source: Detroit News | Photo: dave_7, CC2]

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