The NHTSA announced the final guidelines of the CARS program.  For months now, this program has been commonly referred to as the Cash For Clunkers program, but now after finalization it is officially called CARS short for Car Allowance Rebate System.

The document containing all of the information about the program is on the website in PDF format for those interested in reading.  It comes in at a whopping 100 plus pages and is very detailed, but the basics have not changed much since we first talked about the program.

Vehicles traded in since July 1st were eligible under the program, but the program will end this November or when funds are depleted, whichever comes first.  According to the website, those who meet eligibility requirements starting on July 27th, will automatically receive the rebate or incentives without doing anything on their behalf.  As long as the vehicle traded in and the vehicle purchased meet the guidelines below, you will qualify.

The basics of the program are as follows and quoted directly from the website.

  • Your vehicle must be less than 25 years old on the trade-in date
  • Only purchase or lease of new vehicles qualify
  • Generally, trade-in vehicles must get 18 or less MPG (some very large pick-up trucks and cargo vans have different requirements)
  • Trade-in vehicles must be registered and insured continuously for the full year preceding the trade-in
  • You don't need a voucher, dealers will apply a credit at purchase
  • Program runs through Nov 1, 2009 or when the funds are exhausted, whichever comes first.
  • The program requires the scrapping of your eligible trade-in vehicle, and that the dealer disclose to you an estimate of the scrap value of your trade-in. The scrap value, however minimal, will be in addition to the rebate, and not in place of the rebate.

The benefits of the program is countless as it will remove old, polluting vehicles from the road in exchange for new, efficient vehicles.  Many may trade in old gasoline powered vehicles for new hybrid models.  The program could jump start sales of many slumping models and help several automakers get out of the red.  For the consumer, its a time to save a lot of money by trading in that old vehicle.

If you would like additional information about the program please refer to the link below.