Cash for Clunkers, $1 Billion up for Grabs

July 27, 2009 9:43:52 AM PDT
How much of a gas hog is your old vehicle? You might want to find out because the federal government is offering rebates of up to $4,500 dollars on new cars with your trade in. Your first clue that it's a big deal is the number of commercials you are going to see on television and hear on the radio like this one where a buy in a ball cap with a grin the size of the grand canyon says "They'll recycle your ride and get you a big, fat, juicy rebate from Uncle Sam."So I took the 'Cash for Clunkers' program for a test drive to learn how it works.

First, yes, it's true. The Federal "Car Allowance Rebate System", commonly known as 'Cash for Clunkers' is a welcome shot in the arm for car dealerships like the one in Clovis at West Shaw & Highway 168.

Future Ford began offering the deal before the official the official start date of July 27th. Its general manager, James Cagle told me, "Up to this point in time, as of this morning, we've delivered seventeen new vehicles under this program." And taken in 17 mostly gas guzzling clunkers, "But the good thing about it is they're off the road and good, fuel efficient cleaner burning vehicles are on the road now." The dealerships handle the paperwork and apply your rebate as a credit on the sale of a new car. That is if your old vehicle meets the criteria needed to get the rebate.

The owner of this 1994 Toyota 4Runner is in the ball park to qualify for the cash for clunker's deal. He's averaging about 14-miles per gallon on the 15-year old SUV.

The Federal rebates of between $3,500 and $4,500 dollars apply only to vehicles less than 25 years old, are currently running and registered with a combined gas mileage of 18 miles per gallon. You buy a new car and the old one goes to the end of line: a wrecking yard like Pic-a-Part in Fresno County at Jensen & Golden state. We watched as they ripped the engine and transmission out to be destroyed. The rest of the car can be sold as scrap or parts, but the part that creates pollution goes on to be something else.

For James Cagle it's a modern conundrum - unimagined back in the hay day of the gas guzzlers, "A science fiction sort of thing. Who knows what it's gonna be like in 2-thousand, 2 thousand and ten. Now we're finding out."

And now ... you know.

Check out the links to more information and the official website for the One-billion dollar Federal program.

Related Links:

(CASH) Official Government Website
CNN - Is it for you?
CNN - CASH Scams
Consumer Reports
Cash for Clunkers Facts

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