For vehicles with their engines disabled, the clunkers sure are moving fast.
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.
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.
Preliminary rules for the CARS act – which was known as the Cash for Clunkers bill and is now more officially known as the CAR Allowance Rebate System or the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act of 2009 – were released by the Federal government today. Automakers have been busy doubling the rebates and emphasizing the green results of the bill, but today was the first chance to see exactly how CARS will work. It's about time.