The government's Cash for Clunkers program only got off the ground on Monday, yet 4,026 eligible vehicles were reportedly swapped out in the program's first day. The program already has 20,564 certified Clunkers dealers, which gives eligible customers plenty of places to to cash in on the federal program. That is, assuming the EPA didn't make your vehicle ineligible in the 11th hour.

Hitting 4,000 Cash for Clunkers-related sales in the first day is impressive, but that's only a small portion of sales that the program is expected to create. The vehicles sold on Monday alone represent $17 million in rebates, which leaves $933 million in program funding after administrative costs are taken out. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood estimates that the program has room for 250,000 rebates total, so it seems that we've just scratched the surface.

But if consumers continue to trade in their vehicles at such a torrid pace, the money allocated for the program will be completely gone in about two months, well ahead of the November deadline to exhaust the program's budget. We've got a feeling, however, that there are more than a few deals struck on Monday that had been in the books for a couple of weeks. After all, some manufacturers have been accepting Cash for Clunkers deals since early July.

[Source: Detroit News, Photo: Will Keown]

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