Cash for Clunkers Halfway Depleted

The latest numbers from the U.S. government show that the popular Cash for Clunkers program is roughly halfway through its now-$3 billion pot. So far, 338,659 deals have been done — costing $1.418 billion — in the nearly three weeks since the official launch of the program.

At this rate, it should run out in roughly three weeks, but interest in the program has leveled off from the near-pandemonium of the first week. Still, there seems to be a considerable amount of money leaving the government’s coffers and it’s unlikely the amount left will last to the Nov. 1 deadline.

The best advice for clunker owners is to take advantage of the program sooner rather than later.

By David Thomas | August 13, 2009 | Comments (7)



I think the government is in for a big surprise. Dealers burned through that money faster than a drunken sailor, wait till they get the real numbers.


Things are slowing down for sure. The first Bil was used up in something like 4 days. Since then they have chewed up less than half a Bil. And the total 1.5 Bil is what dealers have claimed, not what the government has paid out. I'm curious to see how many of the deals get kicked back out because the cars weren't registered or insured for the full year requirement. I'm not rooting against the dealers but i think more than a few tried pushing through some shady deals. We'll see.

Dave Wuss

I'm happy for the dealers however the CFC is an artificial stimulus so when it ends car sales will return to being flat. This administration hasn't created any jobs and without job creation folks will hesitate to spend money. There are still more than 14 million people in this country that are unemployed. Car sales will improve only when more people are gainfully employed.

Patrick O.

I think your math is a little wrong. It took six weeks to get here (July 1-Aug. 12), not three weeks. Yes, it's been three weeks since the "official" start, but deals could be cut starting July 1. My guess is that this will last at least another six weeks, and maybe longer, given the declining interest that you noted.


I personally think the whole thing is a bad idea as it’s little more than another attempt to get the consumer to spend himself into debt. And this time it’s obvious because the item the government is trying to encourage us all to buy into is something that devalues and requires the constant influx of cash over it’s life leaving us with a negative return.

Yes, Your vehicle must be less than 25 years old on the trade-in date


Cash for clunkers is hurting charity car donation since many of the cars being turned in for a voucher would have been donated to charity for a tax deduction. Many of these cars are in good condition and could have been used to benefit the poor or the charity instead of destroyed.

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