Cash for Clunkers Program Nets 700,000 More Fuel-Efficient Vehicles

During the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS program), better known as the Cash for Clunkers program, consumers turned in gas guzzlers and bought nearly 700,000 more fuel-efficient vehicles in less than 30 days, according to newly released government documents.

Participating dealers for the 677,081 CARS submitted that were paid or approved for payment as of Friday, October 16, were for a total of $2.8 million.

“CARS was a wildly successful program that sold nearly 250,000 cars in its first four days alone. There can be no doubt that CARS drummed up more business for car dealers at a time when they needed help the most,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

About 85 percent of trade-ins under the program are trucks, and 59 percent of new vehicle purchases are cars. The program worked far better than anyone anticipated at moving consumers out of old, dirty trucks and SUVs and into new more fuel-efficient cars.

The program raised the average fuel economy of the fleet, while getting the dirtiest and most polluting vehicles off the road. As far as mileage goes, new vehicles’ mileage is on average 24.9 miles per gallon, an increase from the average 15.8 miles per gallon on the trade-in vehicles.

The top 10 trade-in vehicles were 1) Ford Explorer 4WD, 2) Ford F150 Pickup 2WD, 3) Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD, 4) Ford Explorer 2WD, 5) Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan 2WD, 6) Jeep Cherokee 4WD, 7) Chevrolet Blazer 4WD, 8) Ford F150 Pickup 4WD, 9) Chevrolet C1500 Pickup 2WD and 10) Ford Windstar FWD Van.

The top 10 new vehicles purchased were 1) Toyota Corolla, 2) Honda Civic, 3) Toyota Camry, 4) Ford Focus FWD, 5) Hyundai Elantra, 6) Nissan Versa, 7) Toyota Prius, 8) Honda Accord, 9) Honda Fit, and 10) Ford Escape FWD.

Ford and General Motors reported production increases for both the third and fourth quarters as a result of the demand generated by the program. Honda also reported increasing production at its plants in East Liberty and Marysville, Ohio, and in Lincoln, Alabama.

Here’s a breakdown of the new vehicles’ manufacturers: Toyota 19.5 percent; General Motors 17.6 percent; Ford 14.4 percent; Honda 13.1 percent; Nissan 8.7 percent; Hyundai 7.2 percent; Chrysler 6.5 percent; Kia 4.3 percent; Subaru 2.5 percent; Mazda 2.4 percent; Volkswagen 2 percent; Mitsubishi 0.5 percent; Suzuki 0.5 percent; MINI 0.4 percent; Smart 0.2 percent; BMW 0.1 percent; Volvo 0.1 percent; and all others were less than 0.1 percent.