WASHINGTON — The federal government will end the “Cash for Clunkers” program on Monday, August 24 at 8 p.m. EDT.
“This program has been a lifeline to the automobile industry, jump starting a major sector of the economy and putting people back to work,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. “At the same time, we’ve been able to take old, polluting cars off the road and help consumers purchase fuel efficient vehicles.”
As of Thursday, the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), as it is officially known, has recorded more than 457,000 dealer transactions worth $1.9 billion in rebates.
CARS has sparked intense interest, filling auto showrooms with buyers and revitalizing manufacturing plants. As a result of the program, automotive inventory has been depleted and both General Motors and Ford are ramping up production, adding shifts and rehiring laid off workers.
The program has provided rebates of up to $4,500 when people turned in their clunkers for fuel-efficient vehicles. Most consumers have turned in trucks and SUV’s in exchange for passenger cars, with an improved gas mileage of about 60 percent.
Secretary LaHood said the Monday night end date will allow car dealers and buyers plenty of time to finalize purchases and submit applications for rebate from the remainder of the $3 billion provided by Congress. Based on conservative estimates of valid transactions so far, Department of Transportation analysts have projected that there is enough money to continue accepting submissions until the Monday deadline.
Applications for rebates will not be accepted after 8 p.m. EDT Monday and dealers should not make further sales without receiving all the necessary paperwork from their customers. Dealers are also strongly advised to submit complete applications, which will expedite payment.
Dealers will still be able to resubmit rejected applications after the deadline. The DOT is continuing to expand the number of people processing dealer applications for rebates by adding federal workers to the outside contractors currently at work.