Now that the "Cash for Clunkers" bill has passed Congress is ready for President Obama's signature, the next question is: What car should you buy with your trade-in bonus? There were two primary motivations behind this legislation, economic and environmental. From an environmental perspective the idea is to get older, more polluting and fuel consuming vehicles off the road. On the economic side, Congress wanted to stimulate sales of new cars, especially domestically built models.

Since the 1970s when CAFE regulations first came into effect, the question of what qualifies as a "domestic vehicle" has become increasingly muddy. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, any car built in the U.S., Canada or Mexico with a minimum percentage of North American-sourced parts and labor qualifies as a domestic. However, the domestic/import fleet split in CAFE has caused automakers to play games by using more overseas parts to cut get them classed as imports – even when they are built in North America. Determining what car is built where is increasingly difficult for those that want to spend their hard-earned cash (or their Clunker voucher) on an American made car. Thankfully, The New York Times is here to help. They've produced an interactive database chronicling which vehicles are actually built in the US along with where major parts like engines and transmissions come from. The NYT tool is easy and enlightening to use, as it reveals interesting tidbits like the fact that Ford's Fusion Hybrid is assembled in Mexico while the Toyota Camry Hybrid hails from Kentucky. Hat tip to JZeke!

[Source: New York Times]

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