2009-07-31 / Top Stories

$1 Billion Car Allowance Rebate System Begins

A program meant to ultimately result in cleaner air for New Yorkers, the "Cash for Clunkers" program, began on July 27. The $1 billion Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS or "Cash for Clunkers") will issue $3,500-$4,500 rebates to owners of older gas-guzzling cars and trucks so that they can trade in their vehicles and purchase newer, more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles. Rebates will be given on a first come, first serve basis through November 1, or until the money runs out.

To be eligible for the CARS program, "clunkers" must be drivable, under 25 years old and get less than 18 miles per gallon. Consumers would then receive a $3,500 voucher toward the purchase of a car that gets at least 22 miles per gallon or a $4,500 voucher if the new vehicle gets 10 or more miles per gallon more than their old car. Both foreign and domestic vehicles are eligible for the program. Participating dealers then scrap the "clunker" within ten days of the sale to receive reimbursement from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

The program is expected to stimulate the economy and help the environment by generating 250,000 new auto sales nationally and reducing pollution on the order of 300,000 tons of CO2 generated annually by the "clunkers."

"Families that have been feeling the pain at the pump for years are now able to upgrade to a car that will put more money in their wallets and less pollution in the atmosphere," said Representative Anthony Weiner, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Vouchers are limited to one per person and consumers must show proof of insurance and ownership for at least the past year. As there are different guidelines for trucks and SUVs, Weiner urged consumers to visit www. CARS.gov to see if they qualify before going to their local auto dealership.

"This is a great program that will help auto dealers, auto makers, consumers, and the environment," said Weiner.

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