American Morning

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July 31st, 2009
06:00 AM ET

Cash for Clunkers may be put on hold

The federal government is considering whether to put the $1 billion Cash for Clunkers program on hiatus until it can sort out how much has been spent.

NEW YORK ( - The federal government may suspend its $1 billion Cash for Clunkers program after less than a week over concerns that the plan may have already burned through its funds, according to congressional sources.

A White House official said the Obama administration is assessing the situation, but added that "auto dealers and consumers should have confidence that all valid ... transactions that have taken place to-date will be honored."

The Department of Transportation, which runs the program, wants to sort out how much of the plan's funds it has already committed.

Cash for Clunkers officially launched less than a week ago.

It is set to end on Nov. 1, or whenever its $1 billion budget has been depleted.

Under the plan, vehicles purchased after July 1 will be eligible for refund vouchers worth $3,500 to $4,500 on traded-in gas guzzlers. The trade-in vehicle has to get combined city and highway fuel economy ratings of 18 miles per gallon or less.

The program, created by Congress to spur sales and help the struggling auto industry, is intended to take low-mileage cars off the road and spur new car sales for U.S. automakers.

"With this program, we are giving the auto industry a shot in the arm and struggling consumers can get rid of their gas-guzzlers and buy a more reliable, fuel-efficient vehicle," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement Monday.

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Filed under: American Morning • Economy
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Patriot

    What a waste of precious resources and a slap in the face of people who need cars. Why not Donate the Cash for Clunkers cars to poor people or the Salvation Army or other agencies so that homeless,jobless,car less people need a little help to pull their head out of water in this disastrous time of no jobs. People have lost their cars,homes,families......why waste these nice cars that are precious resources. Its such a waste to destroy a perfect car. All of the fuel and energy to build these cars and to destroy these cars......what a outrageous thing to do. I thought fuel,steel and other precious things where in short supply.....and we were looking for ways to save energy

    I have seen some really nice late model family vehicles less than 10yrs old going to the scrap heap and their engines being destroyed....WHY???????? WHY NOT MAKE THIS A WIN>>>WIN?????

    Please ask Obama and our leaders to explain why people who need a car can't use these nice cars????

    Urge him not to give Americans a excuse or a form letter response!

    August 6, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  2. Karen

    CNN has been hijacked by the right- on it's own doing. Are you all insane? One week you decry the plight of the closed dealerships- the next you berate the government for giving them business. This is main streets bailout. People have been saving their money- not to invest in the stock market but to buy the new car they need.

    August 3, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  3. Megan

    This is a horrible program! Why are we wasting working cars? Why are tax payers paying people to buy new cars they don't need? This is so frustrating for those of us who pay our bills and pay high taxes – STOP WASTING OUR MONEY!

    August 3, 2009 at 8:42 am |
  4. Janet Opdahl

    Yes, it's a great program! It would have been really OUTSTANDING and given U.S. automakers a shot in the arm if you had had the brains to mandate that people BUY AN AMERICAN AUTOMOBILE!!! What's the matter with you? Since the bailout by you, our Government, we, the people, own General Motors, so why not help them out? You had the perfect setup here, and you didn't have the sense to see it. You people (lawmakers whom we can vote out of office) drive me crazy with your poor judgment and lack of common sense. It's like good old Benjamin Franklin said, "common sense is not very common."

    August 3, 2009 at 8:40 am |
  5. Bernice

    They country that is making the money here ended up being China, once again!! This is not for us people. We will lose over all of this over-spending. It now is extended to foriegn cars. Its not even going to help America in the end. It is to play the numbers, makes things look better than they really are. Kinda decieptful, isn't it?

    Jane, even you can do something. The congress went on recess now for the summer. CALL THEM AND SAY NO! We are seriously being misled! Please wake up people, before we end up losing our wonderful America!! PLEASE! I beg of you! I love my country. Please show me that you are the Americans, who will fight to keep ALL of its stars in tact! CALL and complain to them! Call your state rep. and inform them that YOU WILL VOTE THEM OUT if they support one ounce of this garbage, and to vote NO!!!

    August 2, 2009 at 7:00 am |
  6. Chrissy

    I think it was a cheap salesman gimmick and certainly catering to the wealthy. I also heard that website "Cash for Clunkers" links the government right up to your computer and enables them to go in your emails and whatever you have saved in your computer. No thanks! I'll pass. This just validates what dirty rotten scoundrels we now have running the country.

    August 1, 2009 at 11:48 pm |
  7. Jane

    This program is wrong on many levels. Without restrictions, it has done nothing to promote "green" living. There should have been a stipulation to buy either a hybrid or electric or natural gas auto. All that has happened is those with money have traded in their older model gas guzzler for a newer one that only gets a few more miles per gallon. Moreover, the autos being purchased are foreign made .. i.e. Honda. Tell me this. How does that help the U.S. automakers or the American People?

    Here's the thing. Washington jumps on ideas without thinking things through and then they ram their ideas down our (Americans) throats. We have no say in any of it. Even though we want to say no, we can't. We have to sit back and watch Washington spend our money without thinking it through. I know I'm not the only one who is sick of this. Obama promised change. Maybe you could ask him when that is going to happen? So far, nothing has changed ... except that now I am unemployed with no health coverage.

    July 31, 2009 at 9:17 pm |
  8. Mary

    how much of the auto industry does the government own?
    with all the money the government has given the auto industry, I guess they figure they'll try desperately to make some of it back.

    July 31, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  9. Bernice

    Stop giving the rich discounts on thier new cars! What a waste of taxpayers money! Abuses like these, need to STOP!

    July 31, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  10. David from WI

    How about open some of those dealers that were forced to shut down? Seems Americans want to buy American after all???

    Another white house, mis read? I am a little sick of this whole crap even if it is good news.

    Not sooo smart after all? AGAIN

    States rights all the way I am starting to think MORE AND MORE.

    Don't tread on Us.

    Could those tea protesters been that far off after all you think (read the bill over reaching arrogant seeming self omniscient fed?)

    July 31, 2009 at 7:07 am |