EPA Changes MPG Ratings Ahead of Cash For Clunkers Launch

Clunkers In the ramp up to the official launch of the CARS program — better known as Cash for Clunkers — the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revised the fuel mileage estimates for 164 vehicles from the 1984 to 2004 model years. This move affects whether the vehicles are excluded or included in the program.

The reason for these changes boils down to four decimal points. The EPA guidelines for mileage ratings didn’t use decimal points to figure out a vehicle’s gas mileage estimates , but the CARS law requires mileage be figured to the fourth decimal point. Those fractional accounting methods led to 78 cars being disqualified and 86 others being included in the list of eligible vehicles. In addition to these models, more than 500 eligible models could see their trade-in value increase or decrease because of the ruling.

These changes took place before the official July 27 implementation of CARS, and there was plenty of small print stating consumers should wait to buy a car under the program until the final details were released. Actually, it was regular-sized print on the homepage of the official government site. However, that didn’t prevent dealers and car buyers from going ahead with Cash for Clunkers’ sales based on the earlier version of the EPA’s gas mileage list.  Jalopnik has been diligently covering the fallout and was first to post a full list of excluded and newly included models, which we list below.

We’re not surprised that in a government-run project as complex as this there would be issues along the way.

In 2008, the EPA readjusted 25 years worth of data to reflect revised fuel economy standards for new cars, affecting some 30,000 models including every engine and transmission variation. However, in a statement released today the EPA says these mileage figures are just for “guidance,” and the new law has more stringent rules. For the CARS program, the government took out the calculator and double-checked each model gas mileage numbers to the fourth decimal point. It eventually confirmed the list on July 27 when the EPA’s fueleconomy.gov website was updated with the new numbers.

The question remains, what do the dealers and buyers who thought their cars qualified do now? We’d like to hear your stories if you’re one of the people impacted by these changes, for good or for bad. 

Newly Ineligible Cars
1 1987 Alfa Romeo GTV
2 1987 Alfa Romeo Milano
3 1987 BMW 5 Series
4 1987 Chevrolet S10 Blazer 2WD
5 1987 Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan/Ram Van 2WD
6 1987 Dodge Shadow
7 1987 Ford Aerostar Van
8 1987 Ford LTD Crown Victoria
9 1987 Ford LTD Crown Victoria Wagon
10 1987 GMC S15 Jimmy 2WD
11 1987 Lincoln Continental
12 1987 Lincoln Mark VII
13 1987 Lincoln Town Car
14 1987 Mercury Grand Marquis
15 1987 Mercury Grand Marquis Wagon
16 1987 Plymouth Sundance
17 1987 Plymouth Voyager/Grand Voyager 2WD
18 1987 Plymouth Voyager/Grand Voyager 2WD
19 1987 Porsche 944
20 1987 Toyota Truck 4WD
21 1988 Mazda 929
22 1988 Peugeot 505 Sedan
23 1988 Peugeot 505 Sedan
24 1988 Toyota 4Runner 4WD
25 1989 Mazda 929
26 1989 Peugeot 505 Sedan
27 1989 Porsche 911 Carrera
28 1990 Audi 80 Quattro
29 1990 Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan/Ram Van 2WD
30 1990 Plymouth Voyager/Grand Voyager 2WD
31 1990 Saab 9000
32 1990 Toyota 1-Ton Truck 2WD
33 1990 Toyota Truck 2WD
34 1991 Audi 80 Quattro
35 1991 Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan 2WD
36 1991 Dodge Ram 50 Pickup 2WD
37 1991 Lexus ES 250
38 1991 Mitsubishi Truck 2WD
39 1991 Plymouth Voyager/Grand Voyager 2WD
40 1991 Toyota Camry
41 1991 Toyota Camry Wagon
42 1992 Acura NSX
43 1992 Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan 2WD
44 1992 Dodge Ram 50 Pickup 2WD
45 1992 Jeep Cherokee 4WD
46 1992 Jeep Comanche Pickup 4WD
47 1992 Mitsubishi Truck 2WD
48 1992 Plymouth Voyager/Grand Voyager 2WD
49 1992 Saab 900
50 1992 Saab 900
51 1993 Dodge Ram 50 Pickup 2WD
52 1993 Dodge Stealth
53 1993 Jeep Comanche Pickup 2WD
54 1993 Mitsubishi 3000 GT
55 1993 Mitsubishi Truck 2WD
56 1993 Toyota Camry
57 1993 Toyota Camry Wagon
58 1994 Mazda B2300/B3000/B4000 Pickup 2WD
59 1994 Mazda MPV
60 1994 Mitsubishi Diamante Wagon
61 1994 Volkswagen Corrado SLC
62 1995 Kia Sportage 2WD
63 1995 Mazda MPV
64 1995 Toyota Tacoma 2WD
65 1996 Jeep Cherokee 2WD
66 1996 Nissan Truck 2WD
67 1996 Toyota Supra
68 1996 Volkswagen Jetta GLX
69 1997 Chrysler Concorde
70 1997 Chrysler New Yorker/LHS
71 1997 Dodge Intrepid
72 1997 Eagle Vision
73 1997 Kia Sportage 4WD
74 1997 Mercedes-Benz C36 AMG
75 1997 Nissan Truck 2WD
76 1997 Toyota Supra
77 1997 Toyota T100 2WD
78 1997 Volkswagen Jetta GLX

Newly Eligble Cars

1 1987 Buick Regal
2 1987 Cadillac Brougham
3 1987 Chevrolet Caprice
4 1987 Chevrolet G10/20 Van 2WD
5 1987 Chevrolet R10 Pickup 2WD
6 1987 Chevrolet T10 Blazer 4WD
7 1987 Chevrolet T10 Pickup 4WD
8 1987 GMC G15/25 Vandura 2WD
9 1987 GMC R15 Pickup 2WD
10 1987 GMC T15 Jimmy 4WD
11 1987 GMC T15 Pickup 4WD
12 1987 Jeep Cherokee/Wagoneer 4WD
13 1987 Jeep Comanche 4WD
14 1987 Nissan 300ZX
15 1987 Nissan 300ZX 2x2
16 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme
17 1987 Porsche 911
18 1988 Alfa Romeo Milano
19 1988 BMW 3 Series
20 1988 BMW 3 Series
21 1988 Mercedes-Benz 260E
22 1988 Mercury Cougar
23 1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Classic
24 1989 Alfa Romeo Milano
25 1989 Austin Rover Sterling
26 1989 BMW M3
27 1989 Chevrolet S10 Blazer 4WD
28 1989 Chevrolet S10 Pickup 4WD
29 1989 Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan/Ram Van 2WD
30 1989 Ford Taurus Wagon V6 A/C
31 1989 GMC S15 Jimmy 4WD
32 1989 GMC S15 Pickup 4WD
33 1989 Mercury Sable Wagon V6 A/C
34 1989 Plymouth Voyager/Grand Voyager 2WD
35 1990 BMW 325i Convertible
36 1990 BMW 525i
37 1990 BMW M3
38 1990 Chrysler New Yorker Fifth Avenue/Imperial
39 1990 Chrysler TC By Convertible
40 1990 Ford Taurus Wagon
41 1990 Isuzu Pickup 2WD
42 1990 Mercury Sable Wagon
43 1991 Alfa Romeo 164
44 1991 BMW M3
45 1991 Ford Taurus Wagon
46 1991 Jeep Cherokee 2WD
47 1991 Mercury Sable Wagon
48 1992 Alfa Romeo 164
49 1992 Chrysler Imperial
50 1993 Acura Legend
51 1993 Alfa Romeo 164
52 1993 Buick Park Avenue
53 1993 Mitsubishi Diamante
54 1993 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight
55 1994 Eagle Summit Wagon
56 1994 Ford LTD Crown Victoria
57 1994 Ford Thunderbird
58 1994 Isuzu Pickup 2WD
59 1994 Lincoln Lincolin Town Car
60 1994 Lincoln Mark VIII
61 1994 Mercury Cougar
62 1994 Mercury Grand Marquis
63 1994 Mitsubishi Expo
64 1994 Plymouth Colt Vista
65 1994 Volkswagen Passat
66 1994 Volkswagen Passat
67 1994 Volkswagen Passat Wagon
68 1994 Volkswagen Passat Wagon
69 1995 Eagle Summit Wagon
70 1995 Lincoln Mark VIII
71 1995 Mitsubishi Expo
72 1995 Volkswagen Jetta III GLX
73 1995 Volkswagen Passat
74 1995 Volkswagen Passat Wagon
75 1996 Chrysler Concorde
76 1996 Chrysler New Yorker/LHS
77 1996 Eagle Vision
78 1996 Mitsubishi 3000 GT Spyder
79 1996 Volkswagen Passat
80 1996 Volkswagen Passat Wagon
81 1997 Mercedes-Benz E420
82 1997 Toyota 4Runner 2WD
83 1997 Toyota T100 2WD
84 1997 Volkswagen Passat
85 1997 Volkswagen Passat Wagon
86 2004 Mazda RX-8

By David Thomas | July 29, 2009 | Comments (31)



I wonder how makers like hyundai who were offering the rebate in advance and may have had newly ineligible car traded feel about this. Sure it wouldn't hurt them too much, but still must suck.


We have a call into Hyundai actually and are awaiting their response.


Haha i'm sorry but is their really a dumpster they are throwing away the traded clunkers into?

Yeah I found that on Autoblog and had to use it.


Theres a Toyota/Hyundai dealership not far from where I work who has a big dumpster and has put clunkers in it.

Derrick G


I saw on Autoblog where the dealer that posted the picture is and rode by there. Now there's only two cars in it, the Taurus and the Blazer, and they're at opposite ends. There were storms with heavy winds yesterday, so I'm wondering if they didn't find some stability issues with it loaded as shown. But it's really there.

We can all drive more fuel efficient cars starting today without spending a dime – it’s a matter of adjusting our driving habits. I learned a ton at an eco-driving workshop at this summer’s Midwest Renewable Energy Fair. Check out the top ten tips at http://digginginthedriftless.wordpress.com/2009/06/23/10-ways-to-cut-gas-costs-and-save-the-planet/
Happy gas savings,
Denise Thornton

Denise is right. Changing the driving habits can make the difference. And so does the car conversion to hydrogen fuel cells. Hybrid cars are the solutions as they lower gas consumption and emissions. We win at both ends. It's a pity that car makers don't dig further into this. Hopefully Honda and Toyota are leading the market, but they're still a bit too shy.
And for all the clunkers out there, a great alternative is the car conversion to HHO as per http://www.hydromake.com information. Driving with water to lower gas consumption, isn't that the key ?
Happy driving !


John -
Without reading your link, I'll just reiterate:
There is no significant source of elemental hydrogen on Earth. Hydrogen must always be extracted from something else which uses energy, usually electricity. That means that hydrogen is not an energy source for anything, only a means of storing energy. The question then becomes how you generate the hydrogen. If we don't address that problem, hydrogen actually makes things worse.


That is awesome!! I hope I see some here around town soon.


I was in the process of trading my 1997 Chrysler LHS for a new car when they raised the mileage to 19mpg from 18mpg and removed me from the program. While they suggested asking for a waiver, I don't expect to receive one.


Just wondering why the government should pay people to get new cars. If you're driving a clinker, too bad. Pay more for gas and deal with it. They should have program "Fine the clunkers" and hit all clinker owners with higher taxes instead of giving them free money.



How are the people with clinkers going to find the money to pay for those higher taxes? Maybe you can go and find jobs for these people, or are you going to start spewing the "people are lazy" or "get on welfare" lines? Not everybody has money enough to get a new car and are stuck with the clunkers they have.


Sorry had to laugh at the new cars they included. A 1987 Porsche 911 or 1991 BMW M3?

What are the chances that:

A) That here any cars of this model/year worth less $4500 trade in value on its own rendering the clunker program moot. Unlikely.
B) If you own one of these two classic sport cars would you really be looking to trade it in for a crappy 4 cylinder Camry or Hyundai (I know the 1991 M3 is also a 4 banger but a screaming, 7500 RPM race car type engine that is in another realm - think the 2 liter marvel in the Honda S2000 for an apt comparison)?


My parents wanted to buy a new car, because we checked 2 weeks ago that their 93 Camry qualified. Can you imagine our frustration, when we went to the dealership and they told us that it's not 18mpg, but 19 for the Camry. We were standing there like idiots. And the worst thing, the rep din't know that EPA raced the rating for some cars. Only after we've got home and I made some research,I saw that our car no longer qualify! Couldn't they do a better research prior to enacting this bill. The car we have, is an unsafe junk, but EPA says it's fuel efficient. Bull...! Sorry for saying that out loud, but this new administration is a big missunderstanding so far!


I agree that no true car enthusiast would trade in thir 911 or M3. Most high performance cars tend to stay around longer than your average car bulit on the same year. Even certain older cars like a Honda civic that might be considered worn out by most is a jewel to the the tunner crowld. The engines are swaped out for more powerfull units and the suspention is updated with higher quality parts than the car came with. One of the few cars that have the potential to go from clunker to a fine tuned drivers machine.


I have a sales & purchase agreement as of 7-19-2009, the clunker is a 1992 BMW 325i the dealer looked it up and EPA web site and printed out it had at 15 MPG combined. I heard about the new numbers last week but did not think it could change 4 MPG.
I was wrong and it is now 19 MPG for that type of 325i. So I am in process of trying getting a waiver .I will give update when the outcome is detrimed. I would say trying to get in touch of a person who can make that call is a much more difficult.

Kathryn O`Dell

Would like to say YOUR gas estimates are WRONG. VERY WRONG. Have a 1993 3.1 Chevy Lumina, 3 speed automatic that gets far less MPG than your showing. & yet a sames year lumina with the 4 speed automatic gets less MPG. Think you got them REVERSED.

Also this program should NOT include any cars other than > FORD GM Like hell ALL THE parts are MADE in JAPAN & shipped to the U S & assembled here. the only money staying here is what the employees draw in wages. ALL THE REST OF THE PROFITS GO STRAIGHT TO JAPAN. INCLUDING the $4500.00 REBATE!!!!


2010 REMEMBER IT !!!

Pat Matthews

I too negotiated a deal (for my 81 year old mother) trading in her 97 Chrysler Concorde for a Toyota Corolla only to find at the end that her car no longer qualified. It was a deal breaker so she'll keep driving the gas guzzler. How does one seek a waiver?


The new car MPG ratings are all smoke and mirrors. I traded in a 96 Explorer for a 09 ????. Got the cash for clunkers money and the ???? actually gets worse milage than the Explorer with 150,000 mile on it. You can't believe anything the Government says..

I really like cars soo much.

Thanks for the information I am crazy about car & I love to read this article.

I was wondering why there is change in MPG ratings. Why the government want people to pay more for new cars.

By increase in MPG ratings it is very difficult of the people how has not enough money to buy a new car.

I appreciate you for posting this important blog. I don't know why government want people to pay extra money for buying a new car.

I complete agree with this article. We should stop fast and rash driving because it will save the fuel.

I want to buy a new car but the increase in MPG ratings is the big problem due to which it is not possible to buy. I don't know why the administration is doing this.

I heard about the increase in MPG ratings last week. It is wrong how you can suddenly make increase MPG ratings.


I think a lot of good usable cars were WASTED during this program. It was a shame to see some of the "clunkers" being destroyed. I could see some ragged out 70s/80s jalopy being crushed, but a lot a decent vehicles were destroyed for no good reason.

I took advantage of the cash for clunker program, it was awesome i saved heavily on getting a new car. Critics of this program don't understand how helpful it is.

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