Cash for Clunkers

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Bill Harding doesn't like to wash his 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The paint comes off when he does.

The clunker has 197,000 miles on it and doesn't have many miles left. Its owner is trading it in for a new Chevrolet Malibu as soon as the federal government finalizes the procedures for its Cash for Clunkers rebate program -- expected Friday.

"It has been good hauling junk around. It's got a busted taillight. It is probably illegal to drive," Mr. Harding said.

The Evans man paid $500 for the Jeep in 2007 and has been using it to commute to his job as a bookkeeper at Quebecor World. He has spent $3,200 to fix and maintain it, so the $4,500 rebate for the purchase of the new car is drawing him to the showroom.

The federal government has set aside $1 billion in incentive money in what is known as the Car Allowance Rebate System to get motorists to trade in their gas guzzlers for more fuel-efficient new cars. Having that additional traffic into showrooms has auto dealers cautiously optimistic that sales will pick up soon.

"No doubt our industry needs some help," said Todd Torchia, the general manager of Taylor Hyundai on Washington Road in Martinez. "I think it will be a tremendous boost for the new-car business."

Hyundai has a head start and is floating dealers the money for new-car sales under the program until the rebate money starts flowing, Mr. Torchia said. Taylor has already sold three cars.

Other dealers are starting a waiting list. Richard Pendarvis, of Pendarvis Chevrolet in Edgefield, S.C., said he has taken two down-payments on new cars and will close the deals this week when the federal procedures are ready.

Mr. Harding is one of those customers.

"It is a good program. It is going to jump start the automotive industry to some extent. It will probably get some unsafe vehicles off the road," Mr. Harding said.

Depending on the difference on the fuel economy between the old vehicle and the new one, buyers will get between $3,500 and $4,500 knocked off the cost of the purchase.

Eligible clunkers include passenger cars and light trucks no older than the 1984 model year that are rated at no more than 18 miles per gallon.

For eligible cars, the credit value will be $3,500 if the new vehicle gets at least 4 mpg more than the clunker or $4,500 if it gets at least 10 mpg more.

For light trucks, the credit value will be $3,500 if the new truck gets at least 2 mpg more than the vehicle being traded in or $4,500 if it gets at least 5 mpg more.

The rebate program expires Nov. 1.

"Given the Cash for Clunkers program and the current availability of an income tax deduction for sales taxes paid on a new vehicle, there has never been a better time to purchase a new vehicle," said Bill Morie, the president of the Georgia Automobile Dealers Association.

Mr. Pendarvis said: "When you're giving a rebate, you're enticing someone to come buy a car. If the car is worth $1,000 and he's going to get $4,500, that's some enticement to get that guy in. But how many people that are riding around in a $1,000 car can buy a new one? That's the wait-and-see factor."

The trade-in clunkers will be headed for the scrap yard, a requirement of the federal rules.

Mr. Torchia said that hose are the "bread and butter" cars of small, used-car lots and that he sees the program hurting that business.

Reach Tim Rausch at (706) 823-3352 or timothy.rausch@augustachronicle.com.

IS MY CAR A CLUNKER?

Your trade-in vehicle must:

- Be between the 1984 and 2001 model years

- Have a combined city/highway fuel economy of 18 miles per gallon or less

- Be in drivable condition

- Be continuously insured and registered to the same owner for the previous 12 months.

HOW MUCH IS MY REBATE?

To buy a new car:

- If the new vehicle has a combined fuel economy that is at least 4, but fewer than 10, miles per gallon higher than the traded-in vehicle, the credit is $3,500.

- If the new vehicle has a combined fuel economy value that is at least 10 miles per gallon higher than the traded-in vehicle, the credit is $4,500.

To buy a new van, pickup truck or sport utility vehicle:

- If the new vehicle has a combined fuel economy value that is at least 2, but fewer than 5, miles per gallon higher than the traded-in vehicle, the credit is $3,500.

- If the new vehicle's combined fuel economy value is at least 5 miles per gallon higher than the traded-in vehicle, the credit is $4,500.

(Under the program, you may lease a new vehicle, provided the lease period for it is at least five years.)

WHAT ABOUT THE TRADE-IN VEHICLE'S VALUE?

The law requires the trade-in vehicle to be destroyed. Therefore, the value that is negotiated with the dealer for the trade-in vehicle is not likely to exceed its scrap value. The law requires the dealer to disclose an estimate of the scrap value.

More rules can be read at www.cars.gov.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Car Allowance Rebate System

Comments (13) Add comment
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common-sense-justice
0
Points
common-sense-justice 07/19/09 - 01:48 am
0
0
"The law requires the

"The law requires the trade-in vehicle to be destroyed. Therefore, the value that is negotiated with the dealer for the trade-in vehicle is not likely to exceed its scrap value. The law requires the dealer to disclose an estimate of the scrap value."

This is just so stupid. Think of all the very low income people that could benefit from these cars. I know the intent is to save gas, but some folks are walking for goodness sake.

sconservative
72
Points
sconservative 07/19/09 - 04:53 am
0
0
Rather than "clunker", the

Rather than "clunker", the law should say "gas hog". Only those who have caused our dependence on foreign oil (

freespeach
4
Points
freespeach 07/19/09 - 06:56 am
0
0
So, those people who have
Unpublished

So, those people who have chosen to ride around in gas guzzlers all these years will be financially rewarded for doing so with my taxpayer money? I need to get a new car soon but I won't be getting this "incentive" because I chose to purchase a fuel efficient car to save money, reduce greenhouse gases and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. I resent the federal government's use of taxpayer dollars to reward bad behavior. This is just the latest.

Lumbarsupport
0
Points
Lumbarsupport 07/19/09 - 09:11 am
0
0
Common Sense Justice: Listen

Common Sense Justice: Listen up and learn, it is NOT THE JOB OF THE FEDERAL GOBRNMENT TO DUPPLY POOR PEOPLE WITH A CAR!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you think it is such a good idea, hop in YOUR car, drive down to 9th and Laney Walker Blvd. and hand the keys and the title to the first person you see walking. If you don't want to do that, why would you have my tax dollars going to help pay for anyones car. I want so badly to use profanity when I see people with your views on the place of government, and most importantly how the labor of producers is used to fund the lifestyles of parasites. And yes, this is also a form of welfare for those auto dealers that will profit from this wealth resdistrubution.

dani
13
Points
dani 07/19/09 - 10:12 am
0
0
I have a Taurus that will fit

I have a Taurus that will fit the bill. Now where do I get the money to buy a new car. Will $4500.00 be enough?

egan01
0
Points
egan01 07/19/09 - 10:23 am
0
0
It will help sell a few cars

It will help sell a few cars but most people who drive a "clunker" can not afford the payments for a new car or they would not be driving a "clunker" anyhow.

SandyG3
0
Points
SandyG3 07/19/09 - 11:19 am
0
0
This program is GREAT! It is

This program is GREAT! It is not for everybody, but none the less, it will help about 250,000 people get into a car they might not otherwise be able to afford. I found out that my car is not a clunker...it actually gets 22 mpg. I was offered so little on trade in that it wasn't worth my time. I found a few sites online that buy cars and used them instead of a clunker discount. Added to the rebates, discounts and the sales tax rebate and I am still saving a bunch on my new Chevy Malibu that I am picking up tomorrow. If your car doesn't qualify as a clunker, go to cash for cars and they'll buy it! (much better than a trade in!) http://www.cashforcars.com

Just My Opinion
6301
Points
Just My Opinion 07/19/09 - 12:14 pm
0
0
I think this program is more

I think this program is more about stimulating the money coming into the auto industry than it is getting more efficient cars on the road. Let's don't forget, this is OUR tax money that is funding this program. And I think we all know that the crooks in the auto industry are simply going to jack up the prices to make it seem that we're getting a better deal, when in actuality, they are reaping the benefits two-fold. As far as giving the old cars to those who can't afford it, sooner or later, we'll be seeing those old cars along the side of the road because these folks aren't going to spend the money maintaining these free cars...they'll just wait around for another one and drive that one into the ground as well! I'm just going to hang on to my old clunker (even though I can afford a new car), fix it when needed, and drive it a few more years. Better than taking on new car payments just for the sake of an increase of a measly 2 mpg!

Lumbarsupport
0
Points
Lumbarsupport 07/19/09 - 01:59 pm
0
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Getting people into houses

Getting people into houses they couldn't afford worked great, I guess they might as well get a car they can't afford to go with it. Skip the ****ing pretense, and just supply people with what you want them to have, no strings attatched.

FringedDove
0
Points
FringedDove 07/19/09 - 03:08 pm
0
0
Why do some people drive "gas

Why do some people drive "gas hogs"/"clunkers"???
Because, it's generally the poor people who can not afford the 2, 3, or 4 hundred dollar a month payments, and don't forget about the Insurance for the new cars. Have to work for one of the bigger banks to afford this farce. Why don't the govt, let the people "buy" some of their old cars/trucks/suvs??? They're going to sell them anyway. The govt knows how much the people make anyway and they could deduct so much from what is recieved per month. ??? The cars/trucks/suvs that the govt has, is suppose to be fuel efficient and kinder to the environment. This is just an idea.....................

The Knave
24
Points
The Knave 07/19/09 - 03:11 pm
0
0
This "Cash for Clunkers"

This "Cash for Clunkers" program is a clunker itself. I am so happy The Shrub and his criminal associates have finally been sent to their retirement homes, and/or speaking tours, and other highly-compensated useless activities . However, the people selected for top economic/financial policy positions, and the decisions being made by those people in the Obama administration have been devastatingly bad. As long as the likes of Goldman Sachs are allowed to call the shots, we "little folk" will continue to be sold down the river. Americans don't have the guts to face up to the hard decisions that need to be taken, and the sacrifices that go along with them.The politicians continue to paper over the deep-seated problems with money borrowed from China, Japan, et. al. Of course, those same politicians continue to collect handsome pay checks, and have access to the best in health care and cushy retirement plans. So, their attitude is "What, me worry?" The official national debt is advertised at around $12 trillion (try to describe that number in terms that can be understood). However, when all of the underfunded programs are included, particularly Medicare, the real debt is $60 trillion

jimhenry2007
0
Points
jimhenry2007 07/20/09 - 12:04 am
0
0
You donot need actual

You donot need actual vouchers or coupons to partipate in this program. All dealers are required and government will
reimburse the fees for the clunkers

Jimhenry
Blogger
www.cashforclunkersfacts.info
http://www.cashforclunkersfacts.info

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 07/20/09 - 08:03 am
0
0
Just another gimmick, two

Just another gimmick, two things I do not trust-car salesmen and the government.

The Ode
2
Points
The Ode 07/20/09 - 06:19 pm
0
0
Another government program to

Another government program to subsidize those who make bad decisions. Why don't Washington just stop wasting the taxpayer's money for a change? That would be change we could believe in.

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