Archive for July 2009

Cash-For-Clunkers – Good Idea or Bad Idea?

July 21, 2009

The Government website for the CARS program

The Government website for the CARS program


Now that the cash-for-clunkers bill (also known as the Car Allowance Rebate System or CARS) is law and goes into effect July 24 until November 1, 2009 (or until the program runs out of money) I have been reading a lot of comments from people online regarding its usefulness.

The program was initially implemented in order to allow you to trade your gas-guzzler in for a more fuel efficient vehicle. Similar to the plan put in place by the German government, it is also said that the program was created to jump-start the ailing auto industry. Some of the eligibility requirements include:

Your trade-in vehicle must

• have been manufactured less than 25 years before the date you trade it in
• have a “new” combined city/highway fuel economy of 18 miles per gallon or less
• be in drivable condition
• be continuously insured and registered to the same owner for the full year preceding the trade-in

Check out cars.gov for more information.

One of the things many people wonder about is how much mpg does their vehicle get? You can go to /www.fueleconomy.gov, put in the information requested and it will give you the mpg. The mpg will be what the government says it is, not what you think you are getting now.

Government allowances will be $3,500 or $4,500 depending on the difference in the fuel economy between the car you wish to purchase and your tradein. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price cannot exceed $45,000. Many dealers are offering to increase the money allowed by the government with special incentive deals. You’ve probably already seen these on your television.

One of the things most people do not consider is that the vehicle they trade in will be scrapped. Yes, that means no used vehicle resale, nothing to be parted out, no vehicle re-use at all except as recycled materials. Also, if your vehicle is worth more than the trade-in allowance permitted by the government, you do not get the difference. Your vehicle will be given a scrap value, so think about this before considering trading in your vehicle.

Some people say that the program does not do enough to help the environment, but that at least it’s a start. Some say it’s bad to junk good cars and why not sell them as used cars or part them out. Some wish it were going to be a longer program. Some have said that it’s not fair to people who already have vehicles that get over 20 mpg. Some are just upset that their taxes are being used at all. What do you think? Let us know your opinions.

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