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Monday kicked off, in full force, the "Cash for Clunkers" government program. Also known as the CARS program, Cash for Clunkers allows car owners to trade in their older autos for a sizeable discount on a more fuel-efficient set of wheels. New-car hopefuls can bring in their cars dating back to 1984 that get no more than 18 miles per gallon. The amount of discount depends on the fuel efficiency of the new car, rewarding 22+ mpg with a $3500 discount and cars getting 10 miles more (or better) a total of $4500 off of a new car sticker price.
The innovative $1 billion federal program aims to benefit car buyers, the economy, and the environment in one fell swoop. For consumers it is a way to get more out of their older cars--which may only be able to net hundreds of dollars now. For dealers, rolling cars out of the lot is good for business and, if the program is successful, will be a boost for automakers. And replacing outdated gas guzzlers with their more fuel-efficient successors may pave the way for reduced emissions.
The EPA recently audited its fuel-efficiency ratings and posted updated mpg's late last week. The reassessment may not bode well with some clunker-owners, as some fuel economy ratios actually went up. If an older car is rated at 19 miles or better per gallon, it won't be eligible for the federal promotion.
Before you put your clunker's pedal to the metal heading toward your nearest dealer, be aware that not all dealers are participating in the Cash for Clunkers program. Do a quick call in to make sure they can adopt the gas guzzler. And decide soon, because though the program is set to run through November 1, 2009. If funds run out before then, then you may be holding on to your ride a little longer.
Traded your clunker earlier this month? If it was after July 1st there's a chance you may still be eligible for credit.