Cash for Clunkers Finally Passes, Not as Good as First Hoped
In order to qualify, you first need to have an older vehicle that gets a combined fuel economy rating of 18 mpg or less.
To see if your car qualifies, check FuelEconomy.gov.
Next, you need to buy a new car that gets at least 22 mpg. If you buy a pickup truck, or work truck, the MPG requirement is much lower. That's basically a quick overview. The chart below shows exactly what qualifies for what:
|Passenger Car||Light Duty Truck||Large Truck||Work Truck|
|Minimum MPG for New Car (combined)||22 mpg||18 mpg||15 mpg||Work Truck Only|
|$3,500 Voucher||4 mpg Improvement||2 mpg Improvement||1 mpg Improvement or trade-in of a Work Truck.||Trade-in must be 2001 or Older|
|$4,500 Voucher||10 mpg Improvement||5 mpg Improvement||2 mpg Improvement|
If you do get a voucher, your old car will be taken off public roads and sent to the scrap yard. You will not get any money for the trade-in - just the voucher. So if your older car is worth more than $4,500, this program is not for you. And that's where the criticism of this bill comes from.
Generally, people who drive a much older car worth less than $4,500 are not going to be trading up to a brand new car. To make this program really worthwhile, you'll need to trade in an old junk car worth less than $2,500. Most analysts feel this bill will not make a huge difference in new car sales and we feel the same way. However, if you really do have an old junky car and you've been thinking of buying new, than this is a great program for you.
The bill is supposed to take effect July 1, 2009 but it may be postponed for up to 30 days.
My Recommendation for Car ShoppersTrueCar No-Haggle, CarsDirect, and NADAGuides are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan
Each week, I'll keep you up-to-date on the latest car deals and news that might affect your purchase. This includes...
- Best Rebates, Incentives, and Lease Deals
- Latest Car Buying Scams and Tricks
- The Best & Worst Time to Buy a Car
- Which Cars You Should Avoid