As the whole "Cash for Clunkers" program has transitioned from Congressionally-passed legislation to NHTSA rule book, it has at same time gone from a great way to get old gas guzzlers off the road to something resembling a fiasco. Over the course of the past week, dealers have worried that they might be subject to income taxes on the rebates they collect and customers who thought they had qualifying clunkers learned otherwise.
Bailey Wood of the National Automobile Dealers Association, at least, has some good news for his group. According to NADA, there is no net taxable income from the rebates so dealers are off the hook. Of course they still have to pay the costs of disabling the cars they take as trades which involves filling the engine with sodium silicate to seize it up. Meanwhile Chrysler dealers are seeing an influx of potential customers for the first time in a while thanks to a decision to to double down on the rebates and match what the government offers.

Meanwhile, some customers are finding this week that there supposed "clunkers" no longer are while others can't get the efficient cars they want. The folks at the EPA went through their listings of fuel economy ratings on older cars to do some "quality control" on the numbers and ended up re-calculating the ratings for many older cars based on the new formula. As a result, dozens of cars went from combined mileage ratings of 18 mpg to 19 mpg, thus disqualifying them from the program. Conversely some new cars are now eligible that weren't before.

Finally some of the most sought after models are in short supply and thus unavailable for purchase right now. One prime example is the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI.

[Sources: Automotive News, Jalopnik, Autoblog]

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