REPORT: EPA performs 11th-hour refresh that makes some cars ineligible for Cash for Clunkers

It seems the folks working the late shift at the EPA made a few changes to their published numbers just before the federal Car Allowance Rebate System - CARS (a.k.a. "Cash-for-Clunkers") program went into effect last week. The sweetening $3,500 and $4,500 incentives are available to consumers who trade-in 1984 or newer vehicles with a combined fuel economy average of 18 miles-per-gallon, or less in exchange for more fuel efficient transportation (22 mpg or better in the combined cycle).

Owners of certain 1993 Toyota Camry V6 wagons, 1992 Saab 900S hatchbacks (a turbo is shown), and 1988 Toyota 4Runner 2.4-liter models voiced their complains to, frustrated that their eligible EPA 18 mpg combined ratings had been bumped to ineligible EPA 19 mpg combined ratings as the agency "refreshed" some of its numbers at the last minute. While few of us would complain about a free 5 percent gain in gas mileage, when it unexpectedly robs vehicle owners upwards of $4,500 on a federal incentive program, well, we'd be a bit miffed too, especially as there has been no official announcement as to why the changes have taken place.


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