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 CARS.gov, 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 http://www.fueleconomy.gov. 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.