Cash For Clunkers Ending. Did You Take Advantage?

According to recent data, after spending nearly $3 billion in tax payer dollars (or was it China’s money?), the Cash for Clunkers program has helped Americans buy nearly 700,000 new cars.

While that’s certainly a lot of cars, not to mention a lot of help for the ailing auto industry, it seems as if the program’s reach was pretty narrow.

In order to have been eligible for the Cash for Clunkers program, you needed to trade in a vehicle you’ve owned for over a year that got an EPA estimated combined city/highway gas mileage of 18 mpg or less, and used the $3,500 to $4,500 voucher to buy or “long-term lease” a vehicle that gets between four to 10 mpg higher for the $3,500 credit or more than ten mpg higher for the $4,500 credit.

Considering that leading up to last summer’s record high gas prices, it was the in thing to own a truck or an SUV, it seems that a lot of people stood to benefit from this program.  Unfortunately, this may not have actually been the case.

Here’s how over 200 people responded when asked: Have you participated in the Cash for Clunkers program?

  • 57% said No, I have no plans to buy a new car
  • 33% said No, my car doesn’t qualify
  • 7% said Yes, I used it recently when buying a new car
  • 3% said Yes, but my car was rejected

Very clearly this program has directly helped a very small percentage of the tax paying population, which seems kind of unfair.

I know that it will be argued that a much larger portion population was helped in terms of job creation — new jobs, not so much, rather more likely avoiding layoffs — but it seems as if the ripple effects have been minor, at best.

With most economists predicting a massive decline in the number of cars sold over the coming months, it seems as if the government just kind of delayed when the brunt of the declining U.S. auto industry would hit the economy in general.

Hopefully you were able to take advantage of the program while it was available.  If not, take solace in the fact that you’re not alone.

Comments

  1. After hearing about this “Cash for Clunkers” program, I first thought that this was a good idea until I found out more about it. Maybe I looked at it the wrong way but then I thought maybe some other people thought the way I did too and that sure, this program was for people to upgrade their cars to one with better mpg while also helping our economy but has anyone also thought about the fact that to make this work and the fact that with more of the cars that we have today we would have to SPEND more money and have to pay HIGHER auto insurance ? Think about that people!

  2. I wonder if history will repeat.

    In the past, when drivers traded up for better fuel economy they offset the fuel savings with more driving…and bigger cars.

    What we really need is for people to face the fact that they should drive a lot less.

    http://www.planbeconomics.com/2009/09/23/thought-of-the-day-the-efficiency-paradox/

  3. No, I wanted too but we did not qualify. I think now that it was for the better that I did not qualify. I really do not need a high car payment. I am going to save and then sale my suburban and buy a used small car.

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