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Cash for Clunkers Government Program

Surely everyone knows about the Cash for Clunkers program by now — the federal government will give you up to $4500 for trading in an old car that gets poor gas mileage, for a new car that gets good gas mileage. The program starts today.

Two good sources for details are the official government Web site at, and a recent Dallas Morning News article. This is a great deal if you qualify and you’re interested in getting a newer car. Here are answers to three of the most common questions, taken from the Dallas Morning News article:

Q: Which vehicles qualify?

A: Cars and trucks must be 1984 models or newer to be eligible for a trade-in rebate. They must get 18 miles per gallon or less in combined highway/city rating – based on the “Estimated New EPA MPG” ratings available at The vehicle needs to be drivable, insured and licensed for at least a year – so forget about buying a clunker this summer for $500 and “flipping” it through the program. Violators face penalties if they submit false information.

Q: How do I qualify for the incentives?

A: For passenger cars, consumers can get $3,500 if the new vehicle gets at least 4 mpg more than the trade-in and $4,500 if the new vehicle gets at least 10 mpg more than the trade-in. For sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks or minivans, owners can get a $3,500 rebate if the new vehicle gets at least 2 mpg higher than the old vehicle. The rebate improves to $4,500 if the new vehicle gets at least 5 mpg higher than the trade-in. Large work trucks weighing at least 6,000 pounds can also qualify for rebates of $3,500 to $4,500.

Q: Can I buy any kind of vehicle through the program?

A: This won’t subsidize a new Ferrari. The new vehicle needs to meet the fuel-efficiency requirements and have a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of less than $45,000. It can be a domestic or foreign model. Used car purchases are not allowed under the program.

Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

About This Blog

The title of this blog reflects my attitude toward those government agencies and insurance companies that routinely mistreat injured or disabled people. As a Dallas, Texas lawyer, I've spent more than 45 years trying to help those poor folk, and I have been frustrated daily by the actions of the people on the other side of their claims. (Sorry if I offended you...)

If you find this type of information interesting or helpful, please visit my law firm's main website at You will find many more articles and links. Thank you for your time.

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