"Cash for Clunkers" goes into effect

The Car Allowance Rebate System, also known as “Cash for Clunkers,” goes into effect today. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is running the program, which received $1 billion in funding from the supplemental war funding appropriations bill Congress passed in June. Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) was among the key House sponsors of this program.

The Quad-City Times praised Braley’s “collaboration and innovative work” on this bill and recapped the guidelines:

$3,500 voucher

– New vehicle must get at least four miles per gallon more than the trade-in.

– A new truck must get at least 2 miles per gallon more.

$4,500 voucher

– The new car gets at least 10 miles per gallon more than the trade-in.

– The new mini-van, small truck or SUV gets at least five miles per gallon more than the trade-in.

– The new full-size pick up or cargo van rated at 15 miles per gallon or more, gets at least two more miles per gallon than a similar trade-in.

Condition of the trade-in:

– Must be driveable

– Have been owned and insured for at least a year.

– Any vehicle built after mid-1984; or a large work truck no newer than 2001.

– Any Category 1 or 2 vehicle (car, minivan, SUV, light pick up) with a combined MPG of 18 or less. This does not apply to category 3 trucks (large pickup trucks and cargo vans).

This website answers some frequently-asked questions about the program in greater detail.

I’ve been hearing radio ads in central Iowa suggesting that some car dealers will match what customers get from the government through the “Cash for Clunkers” program. New car sales have fallen dramatically during this economic recession.

I would have liked to see this bill focus more on energy efficiency, but Braley’s work was well-intentioned. This program should boost sales for automakers while helping a lot of consumers.

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  • Toyota of Des Moines...

    predicted that this program would only last about a week and a half because of its radical popularity. The cash will simply run out long before the deadline. Prior to the official launch of this program they had a ton of cars already waiting, lined up to be bought solely of “cash for clunkers” when it went into effect on Friday.  My parents, who up until Friday, only drove “American Made Cars” traded in their clunker, a ’94 Jeep, for a 2010 Camery were so excited to ditch their clunker and get so much cash. The dealer was incredibly busy and has been all month in preparation for this program. People could actually start participating in this program on friday.  I know that 80+ cars were set to be sold there on Friday alone and many many more starting today. The dealer said they had never seen  jump in business like this – EVER.  They sure were thanking Mr. Braley for a spike in business thats for sure!

    • the radio ad I heard

      warned that the offer would only be good until the money ran out for this program. It will be interesting to see whether Congress puts more money into it later this year.