Hmm. Last Friday, the official rules for the CAR Allowance Rebate System (CARS, also known as the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act of 2009 and the "cash for clunkers" bill) were released. Also last Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) "refreshed" the combined mpg ratings on its Fuel Economy website. Why does this matter? Turns out the refresh bumped some vehicles from the qualifying 18 mpg limit into "sorry, no good" 19 mpg territory.

The changes were discovered by people checking on Thursday to see if their cars would qualify and then seeing on Friday that they no longer did, according to Auto Observer. The EPA confirmed that about 30,000 models were put through a "quality assurance and quality control effort," and around 100 models shifted status. The EPA says that about an equal number lost their qualifying clunker status as those that gained it. Some of the no-longer clunkers: the 1993 Camry V6 wagon, the 1992 Saab 900S (pictured) and the 1988 Toyota 4Runner.

While we get that pushing up the bottom mpg line is a good thing, we have to agree with smart USA president Dave Schembri that the limit should be changed. Since it appears that it was charities that lobbied to have the 18 mpg limit included in the bill, we have to question why a rolling target – one that gives out a rebate based on how many more mpg the new car gets compared to the clunker – shouldn't be implemented.

[Source: Green Car Advisor, Auto Observer]
Photo by miss_elyse. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.

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