Want to Trade up in Gas Mileage and Get a $4,500 Credit?

| 7/1/2009 11:39:04 AM

Tags: policy, energy effeciency, cars, gas mileage, cash for clunkers,

The Car Allowance Rebate System, formerly known as the Cash-for-Clunkers bill, takes effect today, July 1.

Yesterday, President Barack Obama signed the bill into law that pays consumers up to $4,500 in credit for trading in their cars or trucks for more fuel-efficient vehicles. The $1 billion program is overseen by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Details of how the plan will be rolled out are still being discussed. The full release is expected by July 24, but cars purchased between July 1 and Nov. 1, 2009 (if the funds do not run out before that) will qualify.

Here are some requirements listed from the CARS program website:

  • Your vehicle must be less than 25 years old on the trade-in date.
  • Only purchases or leases of new vehicles qualify.
  • Generally, the vehicles you trade in must get 18 or fewer miles per gallon. You can check your current car's gas mileage estimate here.
  • The new car being purchased must get a minimum of 22 miles per gallon and cannot exceed a price of $45,000.
  • The vehicle you trade in must be drivable.
  • Trade-in vehicles must be registered and insured continuously for the full year preceding the trade-in.
  • The vehicle that you are trading in is required to be destroyed. Therefore, the value negotiated with the dealer for your trade-in is not likely to exceed its scrap value.

The CARS rebate does not count on top of the trade-in value of your vehicle. When you trade your car in, you do not need to do any paperwork with the government because the dealer will apply the credit when you buy the new vehicle.

The bill is designed for people with older, inefficient cars who are looking for new, more fuel-efficient cars. But there have been criticisms that the purpose of the bill is more for stimulating car sales than greening America’s fleet, since the gas mileage standard is just a 4 mpg increase.

7/25/2009 11:02:25 AM

I would have tried to trade in my 1967 Ford and my 1973 Chevy pick ups, but they are too old!! Then I got to thinking, when they break down they are so much easier to fix than the 2005 Dodge and the 2003 Chevy we have, so why even try. When they are properly maintained, they each get at least 20 mph. When you can still drive them and trust them to get you there, why trade up for more money out of your pocket, to buy them and to maintain them?

fran tracy
7/23/2009 6:55:45 AM

Credit is why this country had the melt down last year. Here you are encouraging people who can not afford a new car to go back into debt again and may cause more repossessions. There are already all kinds of car repossessions so why encourage people to buy cars they can't afford. I drive a 1996 ford ranger with 275,000 miles on it and get 22 to 24 miles to the gallon. I thought about trading a couple of years ago and found out the new ones only got 18 miles per gallon. GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO STOP TAKING MY MONEY AND GIVING IT AWAY. Fran

gregory meichtry
7/23/2009 6:38:48 AM

I agree with most of what's already been written. The one big exception is the $100/year, $1000/ten year tax idea. This falls into the same smoke and mirrors bucket that most of our governments, thinly disguised, efforts to promote manufacture and sales of vehicles. I drive a fourty year old pick-up truck. Just think of the savings in energy and resources by not crushing and manufacturing eight, or more, trucks. Probably more like a dozen. Many have mentioned the constant decline in quality, in vehicles. This is the byproduct of a manufacturing and sales oriented society. We, our government, needs to reward designers and manufacturers for producing more durable, maintainable vehicles not just more, that only get better mpg. The model of more and faster manufacturing was good for pioneer times. It's not the way toward sustainability. We live in a more mature world than the last century, or two. Who thinks incandesent lamps are better than what's now available?

7/13/2009 8:41:59 AM

Trade my 87 VW Jetta getting 33+mpg for a new "American" car... (with parts mostly made elsewhere, hello?) I think not, not even with "free" government money. Mine doesn't qualify in any case, but I can't fix a 2009 car by slapping in a good used engine/tranny for 200 bucks like I just had to do for my Jetta. This is nothing more than a "buy more new cars" scheme, using our tax dollars. regarding the engine light... your truck likely has either an EGR valve or Oxy sensor reminder and that's probably why the light's been on and it's still running ok. Probably run better though if you found out for sure what the issue was, oxy sensor will cost you extra money in gas. New sensor less than 100 bucks, and probably about 20. As far as crushing good usable parts cars... it's the government. Brute force solutions is what government is best at. It's why they suck so excellently. :) Cabby Tulsa, OK

bob r
7/12/2009 2:12:24 PM

I have over 280,000 miles on my 1994 Toyota pickup that I purchased new. I think the newer EPA mileage rating of 21 mpg average is right-on. Since I withdrew from the rat race a year and a half ago, my gasoline spending has averaged $10 per month. (That's right, I stay home alot.) Here's an idea on saving petroleum that is totally radical, but should be considered for many reasons. A PBS show a few years ago said when there was an aviation stand-down during the day(s) after 911, the smoggy skies cleared significantly, for the first time in (?) I'm not toting a bible, but maybe it would be a good thing to have a day of rest once a week. A day off that would include stopping all unnecessary travel, limiting use of electricity, and any other measures that can be thought up that individuals, and industry, would willingly adopt. The postal service is considering cutting one delivery day. Considering they drive over a million miles a day, think how much petroleum that would save.

dennis stanford
7/12/2009 10:34:55 AM

I feel that any vehicle that qualifies to be traded in for the credit should be sent to a salvage yard where it's usable parts can be recycled. My '93 Chevy pick up has far too many parts that could be used to just have it crushed.

7/11/2009 9:41:12 AM

I'm adding my no vote to the group. 22mpg is not even trying. If we are to make a difference we need to set a higher standard. Maybe this will eliminate the American automakers but so be it. I'm so pissed at our past subsidies going to them and their total waste by offering "compliant" high profit non efficient vehicles with our money, I could care less if they go under. People will find new job, say in oh I don't know, efficient housing industry.... It's about time we citizens and consumers stop paying for short sighted greedy corporate American companies stupid mistakes. I don't mind a little drift from the right to help fellow neighbors, but I will not tolerate subsidizing the wealthy that got burnt risking too much (of our money) to get even wealthier. There is a big difference in shaking the current status quo and the republican (and I am one) FUD cry of socialism. ps. I own an old 18mpg qualifying vehicle and a 2001 pruis, I'll replace the tank when I can afford it.

joel spackman
7/11/2009 8:16:31 AM

Where is the guarentee that car dealers are not going to jack up the prices of their vehicles higher and take advantage of the consumer with this cash for clunkers idea?

7/10/2009 3:17:22 PM

Unbelievable waste of tax payers' money! Why should someone driving an old vehicle dump it for a new one and end up paying more for insurance, license fees, sales tax etc. especially when it's being financed? Also, why the limit on the age of the vehicle? I drive a 1982 Mercedes diesel getting 25mpg and it would not qualify.

7/10/2009 2:09:12 PM

It doesn't make sense for the trade-in to be perfectly functional if its just going to be scrapped. Unless by 'scrapped' they actually mean 'shipped to another country with lower standards to be sold'. My car is a 1999 Neon and with a bad transmission it STILL gets more than the maximum mpg. Plus, most people driving such old vehicles are doing so because they can't afford something better. Nice try - NOT!

7/10/2009 1:10:16 PM

Oh yes, the short answer to the question asked is 'no'. Not enough economic incentive to get me to do it. My pickup gets 29 MPG highway and 25 MPG with the AC on in town. There are no small pickups that get 5MPG better than that today. I don't tend to get a different vehicle until annual repair costs approach the level of what payments would be on a replacement vehicle. $4,500 goes a long way, but that doesn't cover my costs of changing vehicles when I don't have a personal 'need'.

7/10/2009 1:05:02 PM

I already purchase used vehicles (2 to 4 years old) then drive them till their wheels fall off! I already get several thousand off the 'new' prices, by letting someone else take te hit. If our current president wants to put in place a plan that will get old cars off the road. Put in a $100/year tax on vehicles, graduated by the number of years old they are, and collect it through the current state vehicle registration process. Once a care is an 'official antique' and has 'antique tags', the tax could be forgone if the number of miles per year added on the odometer each year is is under (pick a number) 5,000 miles (or charge a 0.10/mile antique usage tax!) If your care is 1 model year old, a $100 tax, if it is 10 years old, the tax is $1000. ... Now this will tax those of us least able to pay taxes more, but such is the way with income tax already. Also, we are ignoring the heavy trucks in this. Getting our trains working to do more local deliveries would be a great way to reduce over the highway traffic by heavy trucks. Old trucks are not inherently un-safe, but newer ones are safer (both for the trucker and the motoring public). So I would like to see them involved. While we are at it, a major user of petroleum products is the agriculture community that tend to run their vehicles into the ground (many, not all). When they are out of 'tune' they use excess fuel and add polution to the air as well. Just because they are 'in the country' doesn't mean they are not part of the same eco-systems (environmental and economic!). Everyone should play by the same rules, or not play at all. ... And then there are military vehicles, that should be on the forefront of reducing the usage of non-renewable fuels. Lack of fuel has caused major battles and even wars to be fought over the last many years. Reducing the need for fuel for the 'war machines' will also reduce the cost of wars and in supplyi

steve scott
7/10/2009 12:17:38 PM

Like Glen has already said here, this is just MORE smoke and mirrors from our lieing, cheating, stealing government. I am as green as the next guy, and I have the smallest carbon footprint of any of my family or friends, but this is just ANOTHER example of the government "stealing" money from us in the form of higher taxes, and then redistributeing it and most importantly, TELLING US HOW WE MAY SPEND IT!! Why don't they try makeing America more energy independent by drilling and useing more of our own vast oil reserves, oil shale, and oil sands, and coal to oil? The U.S. oil companies are the safest, cleanest drillers in the world when it comes to environmental impact. Has anybody ever noticed the NEGATIVE IMPACT Venezuela, China, Russia, Africa, and all the middle eastern countries have on the environment when they drill and spill? They don't care if they pollute, they just want the almighty dollar and damn the consequences. It would be much better for planet earth if we drilled on our own shores for our OWN OIL. Let those other countries choke on their oil when we don't need to buy it anymore. How will they fund their terrorism, wars, and tyrannical fascists/communists governments then.

7/10/2009 12:13:01 PM

My 91 F250 Diesel is probably rated at about 18 mpg freeway (what I get at 75 mph), but if I keep it at 55 on the freeway, I can easily get 24 mpg out of it! However, it is most likely only worth $1200 to $1800 for the engine and trans, so trading in for $4500 would be a value on a Diesel/Hybrid Escape or if ford made a Diesel/hybrid pickup truck! Also, I would need to find someone willing to finance someone who was UNEMPLOYED!

alan jones_1
7/10/2009 11:40:32 AM

I was all excited too. I have a 95 F150 with 240,000 miles on it, but the engine light is on - has been for years. I had the hot for a hybrid - prius, insight, focus, but I also understand it has to be American made and am not sure any of those would qualify. If they do, perhaps it might be worth getting the check engine light fixed.

norman davis
7/10/2009 9:29:07 AM

I agree with all previous comments. I have a 1999 Ford Ranger with 103,000 miles on the odometer. Also a '91 Geo metro with almost 100,000 miles and an '05 Mazda van with nearly 50,000 miles. With the exception of the GEO, mileage is ordinary, but the van and truck can carry a lot of stuff in one trip and they have carried us to many parts of the country reliably. That makes them efficient if only for that reason alone. Why trade in for an unknown entity? Every year the vehicles manufactured seem to be of lesser quality than previous years. So why would anyone in his or her right mind want to buy a new cheesy car or truck?

7/8/2009 11:24:01 AM

One more thing you need to know for Cash 4 Clunker is the engine light cannot be on. Also check around, our local Nissan dealer is doubling the voucher so you get Up to $9000 on your clunker!

glen barnes_6
7/2/2009 3:08:25 PM

I don't see it as being much more than a feel good smoke/mirrors piece of legislation. I have a 1994 Acclaim with 259k miles and a 1996 Caravan with 217k miles.Neither are eligible because they both get 24 mpg. Most of the people that can get financed already have newer vehicles and the people driving older vehicles most likely cannot get the financing for a new car. If your vehicle is worth more than $4500 that is all you will get on trade as its either the $4500 or the trade in value,not both. With job security the way it is now I don't think there are many that want to take on a $500/$600 month (or more) payment for the next 5 years.

7/1/2009 9:14:50 PM

I was really optimistic about this until I heard the details. I think I could get at least $4500 on trade in already for any of my vehicles I might consider trading (2000 and 2002 Ford Explorers). It's no incentive if I don't get more. I was hoping to buy a Toyota Prius. I just spent $3500 to put a new transmission in the 2000 Explorer. I guess I n eed to drive these vehicles for at least another 5 years then at 16mpg.....

7/1/2009 4:26:29 PM

I do not think that requiring the trade-in vehicle to be destroyed is a productive portion of this bill. Reusing old materials is an environmentally sustainable practice. If the car still runs, it ought to be used until the end of its life.

mother earth news fair


Oct. 21-22, 2017
Topeka, KS.

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!