Cash For Clunkers rebate program under way

Annette M. Drowlette/staff
Taylor Hyundai general manager Todd Torchia opens a Ford Explorer that is one of the vehicles already turned in for the Cash for Clunkers program.

Advertising is in full swing by local new car dealers trying to lure prospective buyers to their showrooms to buy new cars under the federal government’s “Cash for Clunkers” program.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published its final regulations Friday, allowing dealers to offer the $3,500 or $4,500 rebate to buyers with trade-ins that meet the criteria.

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.

The program expires on Nov. 1, or earlier if the $1 billion in the program has been spent.

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, vans and sport utility vehicles, the credit value will be $3,500 if the new vehicle 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 applies to a new purchase or a five-year lease.

The trade-in will be scrapped.

"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.

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