Friday, June 19, 2009

Congress Passes Cash For Clunkers Bill, Offers $4,500 Stimulus Vouchers to Car Owners

/PRNewswire/ -- Congress passed the Automotive Stimulus bill "Cash For Clunkers" on Thursday, marking the first real legislative stride towards an auto industry recovery, announced, an organization that is leading the campaign to educate the public about the bill. Cash For Clunkers provides up to $4,500 to car owners who trade in their present car for a more fuel efficient and environmentally-friendly alternative. The bill is being called a legislative "trifecta" because its passage stands to ignite a much-needed recovery in the auto industry, save car-owning households money, and improve the environment on a national scale.

Cash For Clunkers works by providing a $4,500 voucher for car owners whose present car gets less than 18 miles per gallon in fuel efficiency. Drivers who buy a car with a 10 MPG improvement over their previous car qualify for the entire $4,500 voucher, while those who choose a car with a 4 MPG improvement qualify for a $3,500 voucher. SUV and truck owners also qualify for the program but fall under slightly different qualifications. provides all of the information regarding the program on its website. Spanish speakers can find this information translated on

The official name of the program is C.A.R.S. - "Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Program" ( - and is Title XIII of Bill H.R. 2346. The program will receive an initial allocation of $1B funded by the US government as a part of a War appropriations bill. The program time length is 7/1-11/1 and will be implemented by the NHTSA which has 30 days from the approval of the bill to post all program details online.

In addition to advocacy groups like these, Cash for Clunkers drew support from local car dealers who see the program as an opportunity to boost not just their own businesses but regional economies which are heavily dependent on car sales. In addition, parts of the private sector have stepped up to promote the bill ( One of the innovators of the Cash For Clunker voucher is Paragon Cars, one of the largest dealers in the country. "While Paragon's own Cash For Clunker program has a local or even regional effect on the economy and environment, the country on a whole needs a congressional initiative like this bill to make both the serious economic and environmental impact we need," said Brian Benstock, one of the partners at Paragon. New York's Paragon Cars ( took a lead in educating the public about the bill by creating an information site for New York residents ( but also designed and implemented a program to offer their own vouchers to car buyers who trade up in fuel efficiency at Paragon's New Yorked-based Honda-Acura dealership. Paragon declared that it will continue to offer its own vouchers to buyers, in addition to the vouchers provided by the bill. is leading a national effort to certify eligible car dealers and equip them with the right communication plan and campaigns to reach and help qualifying consumers in their market. also received an important push from Hispanic American celebrities like Dancing With The Stars' Cristian de la Fuente and Ugly Betty star Angelica Vale. Both stars expressed their support for Cash For Clunkers as a way to boost the economy and help the environment but also as a way to make an important financial impact on the hundreds of Hispanic American communities whose livelihoods are tied to the auto industry.

New car dealers are seeking to attain certification from to distinguish themselves from other retailers. In addition, select retailers sign on to become exclusive "Certified Cash For Clunkers Headquarters" whereby they receive and implement the recommended communication plan to educate consumers in their local market. As a part of being certified "Cash for Clunkers Headquarters," the dealer agrees to augment the government vouchers with dealer funded stimulus programs.

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karenc said...

60% the cars that are currently donated to charity will now be eligible for a $3500 or $4500 voucher under the cash for clunkers program. Since the tax deduction for donating a car is only $500 or what the car sells charities won't be able to compete with the program and charitable car donation will end. A better idea is to just change the amount a person can deduct for donating their car back to the book value. That way every car is eligible, the government doesn't have to spend $4 million of our dollars giving away vouchers and trying to administer a program that is way too convoluted!
Karen Campese

Stan said...

Clunker program, what clunker program?‎ - Today We went to buy a car today at Bill Reilly's Union City, GA Toyota and were met by a nice young salesperson in training and a more experienced one who was training her on the tricks of the trade. We were asked if we perhaps had a clunker to trade so that they could give us a good deal.
We were silent on the subject of trade-ins while attempting to make the best deal possible. When we had finished the painful process of negotiating and were ready to start the paper work, we told them about our clunker. At that point, we were told that the clunker program was over and that they would be happy to evaluate our trade-in exclusive of the clunker program and continue with the sale. We said no thank-you and went next door to Nalley Honda where their very nice salesperson confirmed the clunker program was alive and well at their establishment. However, we actually found our best deal at Allen Vigil Ford in Morrow where they happily gave us $4,500 for our clunker.
Happy Shopping!