Cash for Clunkers

Have you been thinking about trading in your old, gas guzzler for a new car?

There's never been a better time to buy - federally-funded vouchers worth from $3,500 to $4,500 toward the purchase of a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle when you scrap your older, less fuel-efficient car or truck.

The Car Allowance Rebate System - or CARS program - is being funded through the "Cash for Clunkers" bill that was signed into law by President Obama on June 23, 2009.

All you need to do is bring your qualifying vehicle to a participating dealership for scrap and trade-in on a new vehicle that offers improved fuel economy. The dealer will handle the rest.

Important Things to Know about the CARS program

  • The program offers up to $4,500 on the purchase or lease of a new vehicle.
  • Your trade-in vehicle is required to be destroyed, which means you will not collect any trade-in value for it. If your vehicle is worth more than what you will receive under the CARS program, you may be better off just selling it or trading the vehicle in.
  • The CARS program runs through Nov. 1, 2009, or when the funds are exhausted; whichever comes first.

Both your trade-in vehicle and the new vehicle must meet eligibility requirements to qualify for a CARS rebate:

Eligibility Requirements for Trade-in Vehicle

  • Vehicle must be less than 25 years old on the trade-in date.
  • Generally, your vehicle must have an EPA combined fuel economy of 18 MPG or less. (Note: MPG requirements for 1985 and newer model year vehicles are based on the Combined "New EPA MPG" as given in the Find a Car section at
  • You must have owned and insured your vehicle for one year prior to trade-in.
  • Vehicle must be in drivable condition.

Eligibility Requirements for New Vehicle

  • Vehicle must be new (i.e., legal title has not been transferred to anyone).
  • Have a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $45,000 or less.
  • Leased vehicles must be leased for at least 5 years.
  • Must meet MPG requirements:
    • Passenger Cars must have city/highway combined mileage of 22 mpg or more and
      • 4 to 9 mpg improvement over your trade-in vehicle to qualify for $3,500 credit
      • At least 10 mpg improvement over your trade-in vehicle for $4,500 credit
    • SUVs, Minivans and Light-Duty Trucks (< 6,000 lbs.) must have combined 18 mpg or more and
      • 2 to 4 mpg improvement over your trade-in vehicle for $3,500 credit
      • At least 5 mpg improvement over your trade-in vehicle for $4,500 credit.

Learn More about the CARS Program

Contact or visit a participating new car dealer for more information. You do not need to obtain a CARS voucher or register for this program. Any participating dealer will automatically deduct your qualified amount from the purchase price of your new vehicle. Read more about the Car Allowance Rebate System on the official site of the U.S. Department of Transportation

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