Cash for Clunkers Bill – Is Your Car Eligible for the Cash For Clunkers Program?

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Note: The Cash for Clunkers program ended in the fall of 2009. This article remains on this site for historical and informational purposes. We have updated the contents for clarity and to remove broken links. There is no current Cash for Clunkers stimulus program. The House and Senate have both approved a “Cash for Clunkers”…

Note: The Cash for Clunkers program ended in the fall of 2009. This article remains on this site for historical and informational purposes. We have updated the contents for clarity and to remove broken links. There is no current Cash for Clunkers stimulus program.

The House and Senate have both approved a “Cash for Clunkers” program, which is also known as Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS). CARS is intended to stimulate auto sales by offering consumers the opportunity to trade their old clunker for a $3,500 to $4,500 voucher to be used toward a new car purchase.

Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) – Cash for Clunkers Bill

The purpose of the bill is to remove older, inefficient cars from the road, and stimulate the auto industry, which has fallen on hard times. A similar program recently occurred in Germany and was very successful.

Here is how the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) works: Consumers need to turn in an old vehicle to receive a $3500 to $4500 voucher that can only be used on a new car. The voucher has no cash value and cannot be transferred to another individual. The car will be destroyed, so it is important to note that trade-in values should be less than the voucher amount, or it will not be worth trading the car in for the voucher.


Here is some more information about the Cash for Clunkers Bill:

  • Only purchase or lease of new vehicles qualify.
  • 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 for credit at purchase.
  • The program runs through Nov 1, 2009, or when the funds are exhausted, whichever comes first.

Requirements for trade-in vehicle. To be eligible for a voucher, the car must be in running order and meet the following criteria:

  • The car must be at least 10 years old and have been made after 1984.
  • Trade-in must get 18 mpg or less in combined highway and city driving.
  • Must be registered and insured in purchaser’s name for 1 year prior to trade-in.
  • Is your car eligible for Cash for Clunkers?

Requirements or new vehicle: New vehicles that qualify for the Cash for Clunkers bill include Passenger cars, Small light-duty trucks (under 6,000 lbs.), Large light-duty trucks (6,000 lbs. – 8,500 lbs.), and Commercial vehicles (8,500 – 10,000 lbs.).

To qualify for a $3,500 voucher:

  • Passenger vehicles must average 22 mpg, improve at least 4 mpg over trade-in, and cost less than $45,000.
  • Small light-duty trucks must improve 2 mpg over trade-in.
  • Large light-duty trucks must improve 1 mpg over trade-in.

To qualify for a $4,500 voucher:

  • Passenger vehicles must improve 10 mpg over trade-in.
  • Small light-duty trucks must improve 5 mpg over trade-in.
  • Large light-duty trucks must improve 2 mpg over trade-in.

Is Your Car Eligible for the Cash For Clunkers Program?

To find out if your vehicle is eligible for the Cash For Clunkers Program, you will need to reference the official government Cash for Clunkers website,, and the official EPA fuel ratings from Environmental Protection Agency’s fuel economy website, also has an interactive vehicle fuel efficiency search with updated information. Be sure to visit the official government sites because there are many websites with false information and there are Cash for Clunkers scams popping up all over.

Trade in vehicle eligibility: Vehicles must be less than 25 years old, which can be determined by looking at the vehicle safety standard certification sticker found on the inside of the driver side door. Trade-in vehicles must get a combined 18MPG or less, and must be registered and have had insurance for the entire previous year.

Additional trade-in information: You may also be required to provide additional information, such as the number of cylinders in the engine, engine size in liters, transmission type, fuel type (gasoline or diesel), drive type (2-wheel or 4-wheel drive), Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), or even whether or not your vehicle has a supercharger or turbocharger. The dealership should be able to help you get this information if you do not know it off hand.

Here is a diagram from the Wall Street Journal that explains the details:


New vehicle eligibility. To qualify for the Cash for Clunkers voucher, you will need to either purchase or lease a new vehicle with a combined mpg rating of at least 22mpg for passenger cars, or at least a 1 or 2 mpg increase for large and small trucks respectively. New passenger vehicles must also have less than $45,000 MSRP. Used vehicles are not eligible for the Cash for Clunkers Program.

Looking for a new car? Buying a new car is a big event, so be sure to shop around and get multiple car quotes before signing on the dotted line. Since you may be in a time crunch, I recommend getting new car quotes over the internet for convenience and to save time.

No physical voucher needed. You don’t need a physical Cash For Clunkers voucher to take advantage of this program. Dealers will apply a credit to your purchase. The dealer qualifies your vehicle based on government provided standards, then they apply for government reimbursement. Cash for Clunkers benefit is not taxable. The Cash for Clunkers Program does not result in a taxable benefit for participants, so you don’t need to worry about getting hit by the taxman next April. However, there may be some tax consequences of Cash for Clunkers Program for those with a business or under certain other circumstances. Here is additional Cash For Clunkers information.

When does the Cash for Clunkers Bill start and how long does it last?

Once the Cash for Clunkers program is signed into law, it will go into effect for new cars purchased between July 1, 2009, and November 1, 2009. It does not apply retroactively to cars purchased earlier in the year.

The government has set aside $1 billion for the Cash for Clunkers program and expects the program to last until the funds run out. Lawmakers expect the Cash for Clunkers bill to subsidize the purchase of 600,000 to one million vehicles, and depending on the success of the program and funds availability, the government may appropriate more funds at a later date.

Update: The Cash for Clunkers Program was suspended temporarily due to a lack of funds. Congress is expected to extend an additional $2 billion to the program to keep it alive.

Update 2: The Cash for Clunkers Program has ended.

How do you apply for a Cash for Clunkers voucher?

Assuming you have a vehicle eligible for the Cash for Clunkers Program, you can bring your vehicle directly to the dealership to process the voucher. The details haven’t been worked out completely at this time, but you will apply for the Cash for Clunkers voucher through a participating dealership, which will handle the details.

There will not actually be a physical “voucher” that the consumer needs to receive then turn over to the dealership. They will handle the details and apply the value of the voucher toward the purchase price of your new vehicle.

How will the government protect against fraud?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is in charge of the program and will make an announcement regarding full qualifications within 30 days of the bill being passed. The NHTSA needs the time to work out the details to prevent fraud and ensure appropriate measures are taken to properly dispose of old vehicles.

Right now, the government is looking at methods to verify cars have been continuously registered and insured by the owner for the previous year and determining ways to ensure the cars that are traded in are sent to the junkyard and destroyed instead of being used or resold. Consumers should also be aware of Cash For Clunkers scams.

Other Cash for Clunkers Fast Facts:

  • The Cash for Clunkers voucher can be used for a leased vehicle (under certain conditions).
  • The Cash for Clunkers voucher can be combined with other government credits (such as the Hybrid vehicle tax credit).
  • The Cash for Clunkers voucher can be combined with dealer incentives, rebates, and other cash back programs; in short negotiate like you normally would then apply the voucher like a coupon.
  • The Cash for Clunkers voucher cannot be used for a motorcycle purchase.
  • The Cash for Clunkers voucher cannot be used for a used vehicle.
  • The suggested price of the new vehicle cannot exceed $45,000.
  • Only one Cash for Clunkers voucher per purchase.

Official CARS information:

Here is the official CARS website and the official Frequently Asked Questions. The information in this article is derived from these pages, with a few thoughts of my own.

Beware of Cash For Clunkers Scams

Thieves and con artists are already taking advantage of the confusion surrounding the Cash for Clunkers Bill. It is important to understand how the Cash for Clunkers Bill works to avoid the scams that are already taking place. For official Cash for Clunkers information, visit the official site at, or the Frequently Asked Questions.

To avoid Cash for Clunkers scams you should also follow these tips:

If it sounds too good to be true – it probably is. Common scams include:

  • Websites alleging to “pre-authorize” applications.
  • Websites offering to give you cash for your voucher (vouchers are non-transferable).
  • Websites that state they are the “official” Cash for Clunkers or Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) website. The official site is

The best bet is to visit the official site before giving away any information.

My Thoughts:

The original intent of the Cash for Clunkers bill was to lessen our dependency on foreign oil by scrapping inefficient vehicles and replacing them with newer, more efficient vehicles. I think the intent of this bill is good, but I don’t know how much of an environmental impact it will have.

For one, it will only apply to a small group of people, many of whom are not in the market for a new vehicle. In addition, the new mileage requirements will not have much of an effect on our oil dependency.

How much of a difference will an improved efficiency of 1-2 mpg really make? Like a lot of well-intentioned legislation, I think the lawmakers changed the original intent of the legislation to pander to the special interest groups that put money in their pockets.

This bill won’t make much of a difference in our oil usage, but it may help the economy. And right now, that is a good thing.

What do you think?

Update: This article was originally published in 2009. It has been updated for historical purposes.

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Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of Cash Money Life. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started Cash Money Life in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about military money topics and military and veterans benefits at The Military Wallet.

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  1. Olivia @Independent Beginnings says

    I personally think that this act is useless as long as they require the new car to truly be “new”. If they allowed you to buy used cars that had higher fuel efficiencies than the old cars, then I might like the idea of this act.

    • Ryan says

      I think this started out as a way to remove inefficient cars and replace them with more fuel efficient cars, but somewhere along the way it got changed to be a bailout for the auto industry.

  2. fredct says

    While the fuel efficiency is certainly part of it, this bill – which had been mentioned a while back and died – was revived certainly to help assist the auto industry. Buying used would not have done much for them.

    I don’t like the concept generally, it does seem it will do what it’s meant to do, which is improve mileage, and help the auto industry, and somewhat the economy at large. It’s not bad, I’d just probably rather seen the money spent elsewhere, or not spent at all.

    Hey, maybe it’ll get my fiance out of her older SUV? If so, works for me.

  3. Miranda says

    I am skeptical of this idea, much as I was skeptical of the new car credit that was passed. Mainly because it seems aimed more at a sort of auto industry bailout than increasing overall fuel efficiency or stimulating the economy. Indeed, if we could go to local used car dealers and get financing through them, and still get a credit of some sort, it would do more to encourage people to get out there and buy. While you shouldn’t buy just for the sake of buying, being able to have a little more discretion with the credit might tip some of the fence-sitters over the edge.

    • Ryan says

      Agreed. If you want to boost the auto industry, then boost the auto industry by making it available to everyone. Don’t boost the auto industry under the guise of helping the environment.

  4. Chris says

    It’s dumb that you can’t sell the vouchers, use them on used vehicles or use them if you’ve owned your clunker under 1 year. That would be a much more efficient way of getting clunkers off the road. I may not trade my clunker in for a new car, but if I could sell my voucher to somebody who will buy a new car, I may trade up to a more efficient used car.

  5. Kristy @ Master Your Card says

    I’m not really a fan of this. As you mentioned, it only applies to a select group of people, many of whom are not in the market for a new car. Furthermore, it does nothing to help us reduce our consumption and reliance on foreign oil, nor does it do anything for us environmentally. I think they should be focusing on getting people in hybrids with this bill at the very least as I think that would have been more in line with the original intentions behind this bill. However, when this bill was in the initial stages, the auto industry wasn’t clamoring for a bailout. When GM started asking for money, well that sort of changed things. I think it went from a bill intended to help us reduce oil consumption to a bill that would help the government bailout the auto industry. Since I’m inclined to believe that the auto industry has made poor choices that they should pay for, I’m not really a big fan of shifting more bailout dollars over to the taxpayers and dressing it up as a discount for us. We’re still paying for this in the end.

  6. Rosa says

    What would really help is a straight-up cash for clunkers bill that people could use to turn old cars (that you can’t sell for love or money right now) into cash and ride the bus, or cash and get out from under a car note, or cash and move up into a better used car.

    That would help the auto industry because a certain number of people would move up into new cars – or put the money from cashing out a clunky second car into dealer service on their newer car. But right now it seems like it’s rewarding people who already could afford a new car with a little extra cash.

    It seems like if this does drive demand this year it will just cause less demand last year – which is a problem the auto industry already demonstrated on their own with all the 0% financing and rebates a few years ago.

  7. Andrew says

    If they would open it up to used cars as well, I would trade my truck in for a different vehicle. But, like everyone has said, this is no longer a bill to assist in our oil consumption, its a bill to entice people to buy new cars. It seems to me they are trying for a quick fix rather than a permenant one.

  8. John Hunter says

    Understanding math is important (the British Parliament came within 1 vote of legislating that no-one could be paid below the average wage – supposedly, not a good plan if you understand math). MPG is a bad measure to use in trying to measure the gas saved. “You save more fuel switching from a 15 to 18 mpg car than switching from a 50 to 100 mpg car.” Gallons per mile will be more in line with the normal person’s way of thinking.

  9. Bible Money Matters says

    I can’t see how this program is really going to help many people. They tried to please everyone with the bill (environmentalists & auto companies) and the end result is that it’s probably not going to help hardly anyone. Add to that the fact that there aren’t really that many cars on the roads this inefficient anymore anyway – and the people that DO own them are probably low income and not in a position to buy a new car anyway!

  10. Ryan P Smith says

    So what are the plans for all the old cars? Will they be destroyed or will they be sold in mass and cause old inefficient cars to become super cheap and encourage more people to buy them?

    • Ryan says

      They will be scrapped and removed from the roads. Some analysts are predicting big things for scrap metal and recycling companies because of this… I guess it depends on how popular it gets!

  11. Tom says

    Hello there, I don’t like the bill, under the bill the car being traded in will be trashed, and I don’t consider my 93 nissan Alitma it gets 39 to 42 highway miles and 24 to 26 city, and my combine mileage is 38 so im happy with it.

    Well the fact is it wont help lower co2,, and it will not bailout the auto’s for the USA,we are in a bad depression as my grandmother calls it,” its more worse then the 1930’s depression”.

    so I don’t see some one with out a job can afford a new car, and if someone had a job at basic income wage they still can not afford a new car, only the high income can afford to do so. (like a doctor, lawyer, manager of a corporate company) can afford a new car by trading the older one in and be saving a few thousand dollars.
    Like myself I can’t not afford a new car with payments and high insurance that comes with it.

    If the cars do the same mileage and only have 1 or 5 mpg difference, and for some of the cars and trucks that was built around 2000 mark to 2007 did lower gas mileage, I had a 2007 jeep grand cherokee and it did 24 highway miles at the best, and 16 city at the best the combine in 19 mpgs, so it might be considered a clunker more then my 1993 Altima that has a 38 combined mileage.

  12. Bob Wood says

    I have a 94 Taurus(6 Cy. 3.0. It does not qualify as a “clunker”. Why is the mpg rated to qualify taken when the car was built(21mgq) instead of the present time? This makes no sense!

  13. Tom Ballard says

    I have an older Ford (F-250) diesel pick-up. It is still worth around $7000. The way this bill is written if I tried to trade it in, the most they would give me is $4500. I would lose about $2500 by trading it in. Anyone who has a vehicle that is woth more than $4500 is going to lose if they trade up. The dealers are going to be hamstrung, because they are going to be required to have the older vehicles destroyed. If they are going to pay you to get it off the road, then the program should be required to give you the actual value of the unit your trading in.

    • Ryan says

      Tom, in your case, I wouldn’t trade your vehicle in under this program. If you are looking to trade up for a new vehicle, you would probably do best to sell your vehicle to a private party. There is always a market for F-250s.

  14. Joseph says

    I still think this bill should have allowed ppl to trade their old “clunkers” in for new cars OR new used cars. They could have put rules regarding used vehicles.

    For instance I would have put
    “If the vehicle is used then it must get at least 5mpg better fuel economy then the trade-in, and the used vehicle cannot be older than 5 yrs.”

    problem solved.

  15. Tom says

    To last comit, even trading to a used car no more then 5 years old is still high in value, and even with a 3000, or 4000 dollar government money, the car would still be out of reach for some including myself, I have still have no job and cant afford a used car even if the total was 1000 dollars to pay for a car, (to say)
    and with a newer car still has higher insurance then a car over 15 years old.

    the government should have gave every American person, 8000 dollars and more to higher debt persons in credit, would solve the slow economy in a part that they will have the credit(money as a government debit card) that would be only for paying debt, and finding job expences like gas, and may be car repairs if needed.

    this cash for clunkers is a wast of time and money, I think was put to junk all the older cars so the new cars can track your movements! because the older cars have no tracking on them like the new cars have for gas mileage device on cars!

    I believe they are on cars from 1999- to the present cars.

    • Tom says

      Me, and dont know if some know this but some do, the bill will have the older car destroyed, I don’t know about you all, but my older car always can use parts. because cant get part son a car if it is more then 10 years old. I need a evap canister for my car I cant get it, the manufacture no longer makes it here in the US, but I can get it anywhere in the world but here. lol make no sense.
      and I cant even order the seatbelts or any safety device for the car here. no longer are sold here.

  16. Vicki says

    I think that this program is perfect for me, yet I am not sure if I should do it! Here’s the basics… i have a 1998 Ford Explorer. It’s been really good to me, but now it needs possibly a new head gasket. Costing approx $2,000. The blue book value is probably around $2,000 for the vehicle. I JUST recently finished paying it off. No more car payment! Yay! It’s a secondary vehicle… and used to haul bigger things, when i need 4WD, etc. Our main vehicle is a VW Passat… and we are paying on it for another 3 years. I’d prefer to get another SUV… but not the pricetag of a new one. This would be great if it could be a slightly used car…a year or two even. I seriously don’t know what to do. It would be a no brainer if I had lots of money for a new payment. Yet, I am not so broke that it would be totally un-doable.

    • Tom says

      Hello Vicki

      If you trade in the explore in it will be destroyed, at the junk yards it will be sold as junk, the engine and transmission will be destroyed. the rest of the part like a/c and other things will be used.

      If you have the extra money to buy a new car or suv with the government money you can, but the the explorer has to do less then 18 mpgs combine milesge to quilify (highway, and city) but remember the cost of the insurance is higher on a new car depending on driver histroy and age, and model of car you drive,

      on your 98 Ford If it was me I’d keep it, look around for a repair shop who can do it cheaper but not to cheap or a friend that knows how to fix it, or you can sell it, I have a 21 year old 1988 chevy and I did the transmission myself recently cost me only 200 dollars to do it myself, the regular cost is 3000 dollars that more then the car is worth.

      its your call. if you like your 98 and think its worth fixing, fix it, or a new car with payments and higher insureance its up to you. but no repair costs.

    • Bob says

      Don’t trade since this is your second vehicle. Your VW should will keep its value. Later trade it in. The shape of the economy is another reason I think to stay put like you all are.

  17. anne says

    My husband works at an auto dealership, and he said that they have to blow up the engines on the ‘clunkers”. then they are destroyed.
    Once again, the long arm of government is reaching in where it does NOT belong. This whole program makes no sense. There is definately some ulterior motive behind it. Is it to bail out the auto companies? Another thing is that I dont like to see anything get destroyed deliberately. (again, it isnt the governments business). Will this drive up the price of cheaper used cars? Plus there are a lot of people who can only afford a three or four thousand dollar car. So, these destroyed autos will be unavailable. If they are still in good working order, it is wrong to destoy them. Maybe the person who would buy them would only drive a few thousand miles a year. Once again, the government should not be sticking its nose where it doesnt belong. How much more of our lives are they going to try to control?!

  18. RB @ RichBy30RetireBy40 says

    I was sooooo hoping my 9 year old Land Lover with 110,000 miles on it would be eligible for more money. Instead, it’s just a $4,500 cap used to buy an expensive new car which I’m not down with. Instead, they should give us $4,500 + the value of our car to really get us to exchange out our clunkers! $4,500 + $6,000 for $10,500 is pretty good!

    If you are driving a clunker, are you really going to be able to afford a 20-40K car?

    I don’t think so.

  19. c says

    I believe that this bill is misunderstood by several people. if you have a car that is worth more than 4500 then you trade it and not use the rebate program. As someone who is in the car business I have seen this program do great things for people since Friday when we started using the program. I had a woman who had a 2000 blazer with 140,000 miles. The car was worth almost nothing, it was falling apart, literally falling apart. she received $4500 for the vehicle. That is a great service to her and she was VERY HAPPY about it. This same scenario has played out over 30 times in 6 days at my dealership and people are very happy and getting very good deals. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for a lot of people. Just my two cents. Thanks

    • TOM says

      Tthis will not help me to get a new car if I dont have a job! and it does not help me if I have a car that does 40 mpgs and a new car does 20 -to 35 mpgs,
      and it does not help if they distroy a car that I can use for parts off of Period.!!!!!!
      there was no need to distroy them.

      the only one that likes this deal is the government kiss ups.

  20. Kirk Kinder says

    Apparently, the program is already being suspended. I guess lots of folks were taking advantage of the government program. This is good news for the auto dealers…short term. Sales will probably drop once the program is done.

    I saw a piece on NBC News where the dealers were saying that most folks using the program were not in the car market. This is not good. People who probably can’t afford a new car will now find themselves with a hefty payment because they wanted to get the $4,500. One customer that was interviewed said he looked at the $4,500 as a downpayment, which means he is probably buying a pricey car.

    This program is great for those of us, I am included, that drive a clunker. However, it should only be used if you were already looking to buy or were within a year of buying. Otherwise, you may be taking on debt that you cannot afford, especially since most people driving clunkers cannot afford large car payments. That is why they are driving a clunker.

  21. The_Duck says

    What people don’t understand is that this program will NOT help low-income families who can’t afford to have a car payment! Sure you get $3500 or $4500 trade in value, but you still have to pay for the rest of the vehicle! How can lower incomes do that?
    For example : A family of 4 with only 1 adult working and the other unemployed, 2 small children in school. After they pay their mortgage, utilities, grocery bill, etc … there isn’t any money left over for a car payment! This is just dumb. Plain dumb. The only people who can afford to do this Cash for Clunkers are people who have the money to buy a car in the first place!
    Let’s get real America ! ! !

  22. Tim says

    Where is this Gov. going? First WE pay taxes, bail out the business/banks, now WE give “cash for clunkers” to Who? Who ends up with the $ ? The dealer? The car mfg. ? Second, what happens to the said clunker? Does the dealer just “GIVE” the clunker to the junk yard? Now the junk yard gets to sell all the parts, Except the drive train, but the engine is the only thing , supposedly, disabled, so there is some $ value still in the junked clunker!!!!! So WE, the tax payer are Bailing Yet someone else out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Where is the benifit in all of this? The news media has a story, the Gov. LOOKS like good guys and WE, tax payers take it again… or should I say still!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Mike - not able to use the program says

    Purchased cars in the 90’s that were fuel efficient. Didn’t buy into the SUV thing, 2000 Pontiac Mini Van gets – 23 – 27 MPG high way, 96 Ford Taurus not qualified avg 21 MPG, 96 probe gets 31 – 33 highway. Want to replace 96 Taurus with a Ford Focus that gets 35 Mpg which is a 14 mpg improvement. I’m going to end up paying for people that made a different choice than mine who bought cars/trucks with poor mileage. I’m not judging the people; they all bought into the marketing that Mini Vans aren’t cool or had different needs. The mini van was more fuel efficient and could fit my larger family. I’m really ticked that the program is social engineering to get heavy vehicles off the highway to limit traffic deaths by introducing lighter and smaller cars. Going to a vehicle with 14 MPG improvement should qualify for the program. Yet again I’m going to pay the bills for someone else. Kind of tired of this whole lot!

  24. j.sanchez says

    DEAR GOVERNMENT; this bill sux! YOU should make something for people that lost homes, to get them back on their feet. c’mon there is better ways to help the economy. now u have 2 or 3 families moving in to a 2bedroom apartment just cause they cant pay the rent. what makes them think they can aford a car payment…

  25. Donald Schofield says

    I understand what there idea is about new more cost effective cars on the road. I am in the automotive industry and feel that it is taking away from me. I am a automotive technician that only makes money when there is business to be done. Without cars on the street that needs work I find myself running out of money to pay the bills. I have been a technician for 14 years and feel that it is the only thing I know. I took auto mechanics in school. So to me it looks like the government could care less about me.

    • Tom says

      Hello, in the early debate for the cash for clunkers program 2 months ago, they tried to pass it only for American car companies only, but this is against the open trade over seas, and would cause problems,
      just figure if the Japanese took all there products out of the US market, we would not have any good cars that does over 40 mpgs,, and no computers or at least one that works, and not just Japanese, we have the Germany built cars and auto parts from them too.
      So it had to be fair.

  26. Mark says

    I agree. I do not think this bill will help with the dependency on oil. My wife and I just recently went in and attempted to use our clunker, a 1997 dodge pick up that has a 5.9l v8 engine and gets really bad gas mileage, to purchase a car-not a truck-that gets great gas mileage and uses a lot less oil. We were denied and told we could only purchase another vehicle matching the one we already had. Another gas abuser!!! How logical is that? We also have another compact vehicle which almost made it but was off by 1mpg. How does any of this help? Can any one explain this to me?

    • Ryan says

      That’s BS, Mark. It sounds like they were trying to move trucks off their lot instead of selling the cars, which are moving more quickly now. There is nothing in the legislation that states you have to buy a similar car. The rules only state that you need to trade in an old vehicle and buy a new vehicle with the minimum mileage requirements. I recommend visiting another dealership. They will be more than happy to take your old truck and sell you a new car.

    • Tom says

      Hello Mark,

      The program is made so if your truck or car does less then 18 mpgs 15 for a truck combined highway and city miles are less then 18 or less , what you stated is true if the truch only had 1 mile per gallon, should qualify. but I dont see how 1 mpgs will safe a hole hell of gas then the older car, might as well keep your car.
      and the newer car or truck has to have 22 or better gas mileage, depending on the rule, below is the rule:

      Or go to

      To qualify for a $4,500 voucher:
      Passenger vehicles must improve 10 mpg over trade-in.
      Small light duty trucks must improve 5 mpg over trade-in.
      Large light duty trucks must improve 2 mpg over trade-in.

      To qualify for a $3,500 voucher:
      Passenger vehicles must average 22 mpg, improve at least 4 mpg over trade-in, and cost less than $45,000.
      Small light duty trucks must improve 2 mpg over trade-in.
      Large light duty trucks must improve 1 mpg over trade-in.

  27. Mike says


    Find another dealer that has an intrest in serving you. If your truck qualifies; it doesn’t matter if you are moving to another truck or car. The key is combined mileage less than 18. Then up to 4500.00 depending on your new vehicle’s improvement.

    Just because I can’t do it; doesn’t mean you should miss out.

  28. CJ says

    I have mixed feelings on this. I went to the dealer yesterday and offered up my 17 mpg average mini van for a new car. He said I could only purchase certain cars (aka not a mini van/crossover replacement) and plus even tho this car is starting everyday and would make a great source of basic transportation for a struggling Michigan family, instead of “recycle’ this vehicle, it will be crushed down to scrap metal. Like most government ideas, this costs alot and the real impact to the envirnment will be greater by placing good parts and vehicles in a scrap heep. Yes the $4,500 is tempting, but something in me says this is dumb.

    • Ryan says

      CJ, As long as the car you are purchasing gets better than 22 mpg, then it qualifies for the program; small and large trucks may qualify with lower mileage requirements. Some dealerships are informing people they can only buy certain vehicles with the program – usually the vehicles they are having a hard time moving. Not quite the ethical way to do business. My advice is to move on and fin another dealership.

      As for crushing the cars, that is exactly what will happen. not great for the environment, but apparently good for the economy. I’m not so sure.

  29. CJ says

    Just a note, Michigan’s unemployment rate is one of the highest in the country and many families I know are hurting. Yet they still elect the same people with the same ideas that are killing our economy. I think it is just wrong that these vehicles are being distroyed just so Al Gore and his environment over human life crowd can feel good. These families can use cheap cars, especially now. You have to have a car to work, to move out of state, to live. Now there will be less cheap cars for them. Charity moters is down 70% in donated cars this month because of this program. My hubby feels, we have to pay back the $4,500 later in our taxes so why not benifit now? But I really have a problem with the Gov’t rules on this thing. They passed this way too fast without much thought about everyday people.

  30. Tom says

    I am against the cash for clunkers program, it causes more problems then its worth,
    However the new president stated its a access, but I don’t think it is because the folks like me who cant afford a new car cant get one,

    To lower the co2 get rid of the Ethanol in the fuel, it uses more gas then regular gasoline does, regular non- ethanol does better miles per gallon,

    which will salve my car problems with stalling.

    Thanks Government asses to make my car useless. for a gas I can’t use.


  31. William says

    Its a gr8t idea ….. some scrap dealers in Chicago must be starting their own banks.
    This program sure has to CHANGE the way we all buy cars from now on.
    Hey, whats good for GM is good for me—- I AM A SHAREHOLDER !!!
    since no one ever asked me if i wanted to be a shareholder, than I put my faith in
    O’bama OGR8T!!!

  32. Denep says

    The way i see it, 99.9% of you people commenting on this bill seem to have a problem because the program only qualifies you to purchase a new vehicle… The main complaint is that none of you can afford a new vehicle in the first place. So your defense is to imply that this bill is trash. All be said, its no one’s fault but your own that you did not choose a better career path, properly monitor your credit scores or conduct positive and realistic family planing so that you would be able to take better advantage of such government programs. We all took home economics in school, guess most of you complainers were probably sleeping or passing notes in those boring classes hence you find yourself in this predicament where all you can do is criticize all efforts being made to move forward. Besides everyone always has a suggestion which should be tailored to them specifically. Not gonna happen people. Quit the whining and get proactive in your lives and stop sweating the small stuff.

    • Tom says

      Hello there denep

      I did have a good job an administrative assistant for a huge law form in NYC, and I was let go, as well as other people, and the manager that was there too, and he is a harverd grad.

      the career path has nothing to do with it. and you are putting down people you dont know, If you lose your job remember the little guys uh!

      Ps I am affended what you said.

  33. CHRIS WESSON says

    Like many “good” ideas, their conception on paper looks good, but their implementation is an unintentional disaster. The cash for clunkers program in an excellent idea to stimulate the auto industry’s hard times.

    But…how can destroying older vehicles that are a lot nicer than half of the vehicles that are being used right now help people who are unable to purchase a new vehicle, even with the financial help being offered. The government is single handedly eliminating viable junk yard use of these vehicles by locking up the engines as part of this program.

    This will hurt the economy of these junk yards. What kind of a market will be for the remaining parts on these vehicles if there are no engines available to keep them running? How about parts businesses? How many parts will be needed for vehicles with locked up engines? This is not green! This is very wasteful! Why cant the government give these secondary vehicles to needy families that can’t afford a vehicle of their own? I am an automobile dealership employee. How do you think it makes me feel to know my tax dollars are being used to subsidize people who can already afford a new vehicle, and seeing the government responsible for destroying vehicles that are nicer than what i am currently driving? This is terrible!

  34. Tom says

    Hello I seen in the junk yards car and trucks 1999- 2003 as a cash for clunkers Oh my God is that a new car. geee’s a 2003 cant be a clunker seen cadies, jaguare’s , Lincons , chev silverado’s 2001, I seen new 2002 ford mustangs and ford suv’s , well it does help the folks out there if they have that car for parts LOL, well not the engines,
    and I seen alot of government trucks from the state in the junk yards, umm I guess government agency’s trade in there cars and trucks for a new fuel efficent car helps the poor familys get in to a better car!!! Right!!!! no way. to funny.

    Is a flux fuel car a clunker well I seen two of them in the yards. lol must be the ethanol that lowered the fuel mileage on them LOL, funny. which made the car a fuel hog. someone help me I fellen and cant get up, lol to funny.

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