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'Cash for Clunkers' program a big hit?

July 27, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The "Cash for Clunkers" program, which is an incentive plan designed to encourage motorists to scrap gas-guzzlers for more fuel efficient vehicles, began Monday with great success.Tony Dell'Orco and his family got in their new car after trading in a 15-year-old SUV for a high-mileage Toyota. The $4,500 rebate from the "Cash for Clunkers" program made it happen.

"We have the money and we do to it. That's it," said Dell'Orco.

President Obama signed the legislation authorizing the $1 billion program, which will go through November, in attempt to get gas-guzzlers off the road.

The program asks the following criteria:

Passenger cars

  • New car must have a fuel efficiency of 22 MPG
  • 4 MPG improvement from old car = $3,500 voucher
  • 10 MPG improvement from old car = $4,500 voucher

SUVs and light-duty trucks

  • New car must have fuel efficiency of 18 MPG
  • 2 MPG improvement from old car = $3,500 voucher
  • 5 MPG improvement from old car = $4,500 voucher

Toyota of Santa Monica started selling under the "Clunkers" program Saturday. The dealership sold 102, doubling normal sales. Of the cars sold, 52 were Prius hybrids.

Burgee Jeeps reported a 40 percent increase in sales.

"I'll look at anyone and talk to anyone. I'm looking for the best deal. And I want the quality and the warrantee too. So I want to be sure that Chrysler is going to be around to service my warrantee," said Jim Chabrin, who was shopping for a car Monday.

If your trade in is worth more than $4,500, then the "Cash for Clunkers" program may not be worth it.

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