Congress approved “Cash for Clunkers,” a program designed to take
gas-guzzling older cars off of America¹s roadways by exchanging old
vehicles for cash toward the purchase of a new vehicle. Overwhelming
response to the Car Allowance Rebate System, or CARS, has already
stripped the program of its entire $1 billion dollar budget.
The US Transportation Department
has already called for a suspension of the program to quell demand, but
the White House has yet to comply. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said
regarding the issue, “We are working tonight to assess the situation
facing what is obviously an incredibly popular program, auto dealers
and consumers should have confidence that all valid CARS transactions
that have taken place to date will be honored.”
Lawmakers are doing everything they can to pump more money into the
CARS program. 23,000 auto dealers are currently participating in the
program, and the sales-stimulating effects of CARS are already
surpassing the program¹s limitations. “There’s a significant backlog of
“cash for clunkers” deals that make us question how much funding is
still available in the program,” said Bailey Wood, a spokesman for the National Automobile Dealers Association
CARS serves not only to raise the number of more efficient cars on
the road, but has also been vital in stimulating the auto industry.
Sales are the lowest they have been in over 25 years, down over 35
percent from this time in 2008.
“This is simply the most stimulative $1 billion the federal
government has spent during the entire economic downturn,” said Rep.
Candice Miller, R-Mich. “The federal government must come up with more
money, immediately, to keep this program going.”
For fleet owners, now may be the last chance to take advantage of the benefits offered
by the CARS program. Automakers are hopeful that the program will find
new funding, but it is not yet guaranteed. General Motors Co. spokesman
Greg Martin said his company hopes “there’s a will and way to keep the
CARS program going a little bit longer.”