Cash for Clunkers Extended, in Overtime

By Neetal Parekh on August 10, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The U.S. Senate approved a measure to extend the CARS program ("Cash for Clunkers") by $2 billion late last week in a 60 to 37 vote.  This, after the sweeping success of the initial nearly $1 billion allocation surprised not only critics, dealers and consumers, but even White House officials.  Just five days after officially launching the program aimed to incentivize car sales as well as edge gas-guzzlers off road, funds were already running low. 

Congress, on rush-order, reviewed an emergency extension to refuel the cash-for-clunkering for another another $2 billion and passed the extension before the Capitol Hill bell released them for August recess. The legislation moved to the Senate, where it was anticipated to meet some resistance from opposition.

However, in the end, Cash for Clunkers beat out the shot clock countdown to Senate recess and scored enough votes to stay in the game.  New car buyers hoping to make good on the Cash for Clunkers program that allows them to exchange cars that are 25 years old or newer and which fall into an EPA-approved miles per gallon range, can still go to participating dealers to trade in their vehicle for a new, more-efficient one.

But life in the fast lane has taken a unique toll on dealerships.  Dealers are reportedly running out of Cars for Clunker-eligible vehicles on their lots.  After months of downsizing, the news is not unwelcome; however, dealers will now have to figure out how to meet the demands of the highly-successful program.


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