Cash for clunkers: Will it drive you to buy?

The government just came out with the final details of the “cash for clunkers” program that was developed to stimulate weak auto sales and permanently retire gas guzzlers.

The $1 billion federal program gives buyers of new, fuel-efficient vehicles up to $4,500 in government rebates to turn in their older, less fuel-efficient cars and trucks.

Will this stimulate you to buy a new vehicle? Why or why not?

46 comments Add your comment


July 24th, 2009
11:28 am

Cash for clunkers does make me take a 2nd look at upgrading a car. However, if you look at the program, it looks like it is suited for folks that have a bad old vehicle with little resale value AND bad gas mileage AND are willing to take on a new car note in a bad economy.

If you have decent resale value, you are better off selling the old car. If I can sell my old car for anywhere near that 3500-4500 credit value, then I don’t have to follow a bunch of government rules about my next car which might not be brand new.


July 24th, 2009
12:45 pm

I realize I may be in the minority, but this will definitely get me off the fence about trading in my car. My husband and I agreed long ago to never again have a car loan. That means saving up long enough that we can pay cash for whatever car we purchase. The car I’m driving now is a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee with 112,000 miles on it. Trade in is roughly $1,500. I average 14 mpg. If I go at the end of October I can buy a 2009 model car and have $4,500 knocked off the purchase price. It’ll be under warranty which will also help in this economy. Better gas mileage, $4,500 and no maintenance costs for the next year or so. That’s a combo that will get me into a dealer.

Already Traded

July 24th, 2009
12:51 pm

Already ‘vouhered’ my old Expedition, with 160,000 miles. I got a rebate and paid invoice for my new 2009 car. I actually started researching several weeks ago to find the best deal. I sent out offers this past Saturday, and had 3 accepted, and took what I thought was the best car for the best money.

valley girl

July 24th, 2009
12:52 pm

Yes, in fact I am picking up my new nissan sentra this afternoon. My son who is in college needed a car and the time is right. We bought a 1994 cadillac at auction for $1000.00 It leaks gas, needs repairs and is a gas guzzler. Buyer’s remorse, even if it was only $1000.00. Cash for Clunkers was the perfect solution for us.

Already Traded

July 24th, 2009
12:54 pm

sorry, *vouchered. By the way, with voucher, rebate, and paying invoice, I got $8000 off MSRP.


July 24th, 2009
1:00 pm

Yes let me subsidize people who bought these hideous gas guzzlers. Why not? SUV, it’s ALLLL about me!!!!!

Nobody reads long posts.

July 24th, 2009
1:10 pm

You couldn’t PAY ME to buy a new car. We buy used and then drive them until the cost of keeping them going is too high.


July 24th, 2009
1:22 pm

My gas-guzzling clunkers: 1967 Triumph TR4A and 1990 Jag V-12 convertible. Both bought new, both will be with me til I die. Yes, tha Jag sucks gas, but if I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand.


July 24th, 2009
1:28 pm

Socialism sucks. The government handing away what little money they have for this is ridiculous.


July 24th, 2009
1:33 pm

Beware of the scams galore popping up to take advantage of consumers. Do your homework, read:

Jeff in Roswell

July 24th, 2009
1:37 pm

We considered this, but it doesn’t work out in our situation. I need a newer truck for work but, the gas mileage on a new one is the same or worse than on my twelve year old Ford. Can you believe that? So much for gas mileage advancement. In our situation we’ll be much better off buying a year old vehicle with less than 20k miles at auction. We will most likely save $6-8k – compared to the rebate program with the inflated “new” vehicle price.


July 24th, 2009
1:46 pm

Why should the goverment involve itself in any private venture? Paying people to buy cars? Homes? I don’t like it.


July 24th, 2009
1:50 pm

This type of incentive will not get me spend money on a car. The car is paid off. Maintenance is not that bad and mileage is not that bad. I won’t buy a car until it is absolutely necessary.


July 24th, 2009
2:01 pm

Apparently my smoky old 1993 Toyota Corolla with a broken catalytic converter isn’t worthy of a rebate. Well shucks. Guess I’ll go and pollute some more!


July 24th, 2009
2:02 pm

What really sucks is that the responsible people with a brain get screwed over yet again on this program. I would like to buy a new, even more fuel efficient car than I have, but my 2002 honda civic isn’t considered a clunker, neither is my husband’s gas guzzling 2003 dodge ram. The government gives credits to a bunch of fools who made poor decisions in the first place by buying a gas guzzler, benefitting the morons once again. Did anyone ever think about the fact that if this credit was for everyone, even people with eco friendly cars, that it might help the economy more because people could trade in their old eco friendly cars and then lower income people could buy those cars instead of running out and buying a brand new car they couldn’t afford in the first place? No, of course not…


July 24th, 2009
2:44 pm

The last thing I need is an auto loan. The $4500 won’t mean much if I loose my job and can’t pay the car note.

Brian Hunt

July 24th, 2009
3:14 pm

I work in the retail auto industry and my business is booming thanks to this program.


July 24th, 2009
3:16 pm

If we’d get off our sorry asses “meaning Congress’ and let the oil companies drill for and produce the oil we have right here in the Rocky Mtns, Alaska and off the coast we’d have more oil than we can use and the price would drop and we would not need the little people killers that they want us to drive around in.

Of course the democrats want people to die before they get old enough to start drwaing social security death traps make sense to them!!


July 24th, 2009
3:21 pm

The title of the program is wrong. It should be “Cash for gas guzzlers.” There is a difference. We have a clunker 1997 car that we drive around town – never on the highway. When they (the government) figure the gas mileage for this program, I guess they take the average for city & highway so our car doesn’t qualify even though it really is a clunker that is falling apart. Oh well.

1 to 1

July 24th, 2009
8:12 pm

We’ve already bought the cars via the government’s TARP program.
Let’s celebrate!
Save the unions and pass the Ketchup….

David S

July 24th, 2009
8:31 pm

In case you don’t understand the criminally irresponsible message that is being sent by this socialist plan, read this:

Here’s the first sentence. It says it all:

“Who could possibly claim that buying up drivable used cars at prices far in excess of their market value, for the express purpose of destroying them, will be beneficial for the economy or the planet?”

And another sample (regarding the auto sellers):

“Under the all-too-common rhetoric of stimulus, they’re pleading to the politicians: ‘Please, concoct a scheme to bribe people into buying new car. Oh, and make sure you extract the bribe funds from someone else!’”

And please be sure to check out more informative items from this site. They are absolutely the best place for sound economics education on the internet (and likely anywhere else too).

David S

July 24th, 2009
8:32 pm

Of course, don’t look to the AJC to point out any of the obvious economic failings of this administration’s plans to destroy the american exonomy.

Too Restrictive

July 25th, 2009
12:43 am

Too many restrictions with the program.

Germany and other European countries that engineered the initial idea had a far more feasible program.

Sorry, but I’d much rather buy another Mercedes than an American car that is owned by Government Motors.

Worked For Me

July 25th, 2009
9:11 am

This program worked for me. 95 Ford Explorer with 285,000 miles. Got the full 4500.00 dollars for trade and another 1500 rebate from Nissan. Bought the Altima sedan. Be aware in Georgia the 3500.00 or 4500.00 is not subject to sales tax. That money is to be deducted from the sales price of the car before sales tax is applied. My dealer tried to tax me on the money.


July 25th, 2009
9:30 am

First of all, J is an idiot. maybe people had to buy something with poor gas milage because those vehicles can transport more people than a small car. You never thought about that. Looks like you’re the moron! i hate stupid people. Of course the program is not for everyone, that would never be possible. Its helping people out that have older vehicles with high miles that want to get something new. Its not for people with a 2003 dodge ram or a car that can get up to 40 mpg. if you dont understand the program dont post!

watch out

July 26th, 2009
6:00 am

Went to a local Chrysler dealer and they have overpriced their vehicles the value of the government’s rebate and the match they were to give. So a 2008 Dodge Ram pickup is priced at not 29,000 but at a whopping 40,000, with the money back it is back down to the price it should have been to begin with. What a rip off.


July 26th, 2009
8:34 am

Clunker program, what clunker program?‎ – Yesterday we went to buy a car today at Bill Reillys 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 Allan Vigil Ford in Morrow where they happily gave us $4,500 for our clunker.
Happy Shopping!


July 27th, 2009
11:21 am

While most people do not encounter scams, they are out there and buyer beware. Here are some of the most common scams:


July 27th, 2009
11:24 am

Thank you David S for alerting a few sheeple minions to the Mises site. Now go show it to those superficial economic morons on Jay Bookman’s blog.


July 27th, 2009
4:23 pm

Barack Obama can hook me up with a $4,500 car that gets 28 miles per gallon?

I own a 92 Lexus LS400. I trade it in for a Toyota Corolla and go $30,000 in debt?

Go steal me a new Lexus, BMW, or Mercedes and we have a deal!

[...] Cash for clunkers: Will it drive you to buy? Atlanta Journal Constitution – Henry Unger – ‎Jul 24, 2009‎ The government just came out with the final details of the “cash for clunkers” program that was developed to stimulate weak auto sales and permanently … [...]


July 28th, 2009
3:50 pm



July 28th, 2009
8:53 pm

I heard a dealer today advertising a PT Cruiser on the radio for $9500 after the gov’t voucher rebate and their matching the rebate. They said the MSRP was over $19k. Math doesn’t add up but that’s not the point. The point is I heard this same dealer earlier in the year offering the same PT Cruiser for $9999. So who really gets the voucher money? Looks to me like the dealers you idiots!! And no I am not looking to buy a PT Cruiser, I just remember it was under $10k.

Biren Patel

July 29th, 2009
3:36 pm

Yes! I just traded one in for an 09 Honda Civic. It gets me double the mpg! Terrific program!


July 29th, 2009
4:02 pm

I am very happy for all the clunkers who got sweet deals on a new car. Please say a big thank you to the taxpayers for your gift.


Rhonda K.

July 29th, 2009
4:09 pm

This program worked for us….we had a 1997 Explorer, 170,000 miles, no ac, vacuum leaks, the front wideshied was starting to fall out, and on the way to the dealer we noticed one of the back tires had a nail it. The Explorer was great when my husbands kids were small(it had 3 rows), and it lasted us 10 years. The most we could have gotten out of it was maybe $1,000…(after 10 years of 4 kids, 3 dogs, 3 cats, it was looking rough). My husband’s birthdy is in August, and although we’ve been able to get it to pass the emmissions the last couple years, this year it wasn’t looking so good. It was in our budget to get rid of it in Jan 2010. We traded it in for a 4 cylinder Jeep Patriot, one with the fewest extras posssible. We also don’t have to pay the car tax because of his birthday.

Also, don’t forget, you can right the sales tax off on your 2009 taxes…check out the rules on

Old beater

July 29th, 2009
4:10 pm

I was looking forward to this rebate program as I am in need of a new car. However the EPA is a bunch of mess. I drive a accord with 200K+ miles to work everyday from 316 to 85 to 285 to 75. I have personally tested my car and with all the traffic I am lucky to get 17mpg. So if one day you seem me stalled on the side of the road or worse in the middle of traffic…..Thank the govt.


July 29th, 2009
4:33 pm

Nope. We bought a new Kia Soul a few weeks ago with no money down, a reasonable monthly payment. ($350.00 ), and we love it.

We didnt trade in our 91 Lumina for the fact that they said we’d only get a few hundred dollars for it.

As far as the cash for clunkers program, its not for us. Not just since we bought a new car, just that there are too many restrictions put on the eligible vehicle trade in that it’s not worth the hassle.

Need a new car ? I’d recommend the Kia. No im not a dealer, just a satisfied customer.


July 29th, 2009
4:46 pm

I was driving a ‘99 Ford Windstar van with 230,000 miles on it. I began researching this voucher and new cars at the beginning of July. I had a great deal on a Toyota Highlander just days before the voucher went into effect. On the morning of July 24th, I arrived at Toyota Mall of GA and picked up my new car with a $3,500 voucher. I had my title and records of registration and insurance for the previous year. It was no problem using the voucher.


July 29th, 2009
4:53 pm

You paid $350 a month for a Kia? That is hilarious.

John Henry Coltraine

July 29th, 2009
4:58 pm

Please define a “great deal on a Toyota Highlander”?



July 29th, 2009
5:02 pm

Please explain the net monthly amount you will save on this clunkers deal vs. driving your existing car? I just don’t get how it is cheaper to drive a new $25000 car than it is to drive a used $2000 car. I am miisng something here.


joe biden

July 29th, 2009
5:52 pm

Quit complaining about this program. Barry wants everyone to love him. So what, if you have an old, non-gas guzzler. Remember, what Barry said about “sharing the wealth”. Hey, wait until you see his government run health care plan….


August 1st, 2009
10:38 am

Dems Merkadez Benz donts qualifiez fo the guverments assitances.


August 1st, 2009
10:49 am

The program has one unexplained hitch. Let me give you pur example. We bought our youngest son a five-year-old vehicle when he graduated from high school five years ago. He has been out of college a year and is firmly established in his job. He is ready to trade in this vehicle for a new car to purchase and finance in his name. The problem? Because we kept the older vehicle titled in my wife’s name–even though he is a named driver on the insured–he can’t participate in the program unless the new car is purchased and financed in my wife’s name. This requirement doesn’t do anybody any good and isn’t something he or we want to do. How in the world did some government bureaucrat put this requirement into it?

Mike In Woodstock

August 1st, 2009
12:16 pm

I was ready to go out and buy a new Toyota under this program until after it went into effect. Cobb County Toyota conveniently went up on all of their prices by $4,500.00. The dealers are still bent on hosing the customers for the full price and not letting the buyer get the discount. Fortunately for them, there are enough lemmings who will go for this.