Good Question – Cash For Clunkers

By: Jeff Herndon Email
By: Jeff Herndon Email

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

A new program known as “Cash for Clunkers” offers up to a $4,500 rebate toward a new car for those who trade in their older vehicles for a more fuel-efficient variety. How do you know if your car qualifies? Good question.

Some who thought they had clunkers at first are now finding out they don’t. There are 86 car models that recently became eligible for the program, but 78 models became ineligible after the EPA conducted a fuel economy test on more than 30,000 vehicles.

KAKE’s own Jason Duda owns a 1986 Laser with more than 600,000 miles. It gets about 14 mpg.

“I went into a couple of dealerships and they said ‘no-go’. Why? Well, when it first came out, the average was 19 mpg, which is one over the limit that you’re allowed,” Duda said.

A lot of people are having this problem. Here are a few things to know about CARS (Car Allowance Rebate System):

• Your vehicle must be less than 25 years old on the trade-in date
• Only purchase or lease of new vehicles qualify
• Generally, trade-in vehicles must get 18 or less MPG (some very large pick-up trucks and cargo vans have different requirements)
• Trade-in vehicles must be registered and insured continuously for the full year preceding the trade-in
• You don't need a voucher, dealers will apply a credit at purchase
• Program runs through Nov 1, 2009 or when the funds are exhausted, whichever comes first.
• The program requires the scrapping of your eligible trade-in vehicle, and that the dealer disclose to you an estimate of the scrap value of your trade-in. The scrap value, however minimal, will be in addition to the rebate, and not in place of the rebate.

For more information on the “Cash for Clunkers” program, visit

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