For those trading in trucks, the qualifying fuel mileage is slightly different. Light compact trucks only need to demonstrate a 2 mile per gallon increase when comparing the new truck to the old to qualify for the minimum $3,500 voucher, while large trucks get $3,500 for trading up to a vehicle which gets 1 mile per gallon more than the minimum of 15 miles per gallon and $4,500 for getting behind the wheel of a truck that gets 17 miles per gallon.
Of course, there are also other restrictions and qualifications that must be met in order to take advantage of the CARS program. All vehicles being traded must be no older than 25 years. Applicants must also be able to prove that they have owned the vehicles in question for at least one year, with continuous insurance and registration during that period. That means you won't be able to go down to the local scrap yard, pick up a clunker and then trade it in. The program is also only valid until November 1st of 2009, which means there are only a few months left to cash in on the bonus cash. Well, that was before the announcement of the programs suspension yesterday.
It seems no one really expected the surge in car sales, even with the help of a rebate. With over 22,000 vehicles purchased through the program in the early weeks, and already a huge backlog of processing the rebates, the $1 billion is just about gone. With a backlog in the processing of the deals, car dealerships are wondering if the total car sales to be covered by the rebate hasn't already exceeded the $1 billion. There are many Some Congressional members, as well as car makers, hope the government will find a way to add more money to the program, rather than suspend it completely. Auto sales were down 35% from last years figures, the worst numbers for auto sales in 25 years.
What happens to the cars that have been exchanged for newer, more economical models? Unfortunately for hobbyists, they are scheduled to be crushed in an effort to remove their carbon emissions from the highway ecosystem forever. While this might seem like a grim end to possibly classic automobiles, some feel that it is a small price to pay to clean up America’s roads and encourage a new mind set when it comes to vehicle purchases.
The American public will just have to wait and see what the government decides to do, suspend the program permanently or find more money to bankroll it's continuation. There aren't any quick answers, and right now it seems, we don't have any.