CARS - Cash for Clunkers FAQ:
How do I know if my car or truck is an eligible trade-in vehicle?
There are several requirements (but you also have to meet certain conditions for the car or truck you wish to buy). Your dealer can help you determine whether you have an eligible trade in vehicle.
Your trade-in vehicle must
Note that work trucks (i.e., very large pickup trucks and cargo vans) have different requirements.
How do I find out the combined city/highway fuel economy rating of my trade-in vehicle?
Go to http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/sbs.htm and click on the model year of your vehicle, the make, and then the model. Under the words "ESTIMATED NEW EPA MPG" in the red banner, there is a red number with the word "COMBINED" under it. That is the new combined city/highway fuel economy for your vehicle. You may then enter the make, model, and model year of a new vehicle you may want to buy and see its combined MPG for comparison.
How do I know if a dealer is participating in the program?
The law requires dealers to be registered to participate in the program. We will be moving as quickly as possible to register interested dealers as soon as the registration process begins in the near future. As dealers are registered, we will list them on this website. We will continue to update this list during the life of the program. Meanwhile, you may wish to contact dealers in your area to ask whether they plan to participate in the program. The CARS Act requires that dealers be licensed by their respective state for the sale of new automobiles in order for them to participate in the program.
Does the program apply if I want to lease a vehicle, or must I purchase a vehicle?
Under the program, you may purchase a new vehicle or lease a new vehicle, provided the lease period for the new vehicle is at least five years.
Is there a cap on the price of the vehicle I can buy or lease under the program?
Yes. The manufacturer's suggested retail price cannot exceed $45,000.
Does the program apply if I want to buy a used car?
No. The program does not apply to the purchase of used vehicles.
What is the amount of the credit?
The amount of the credit is $3,500 or $4,500, and generally depends on the type of vehicle you purchase and the difference in fuel economy between the purchased vehicle and the trade-in vehicle. Different requirements apply for work trucks.
In addition to the credit, will I get the full value of my trade-in vehicle?
No. The law requires your trade-in vehicle to be destroyed. Therefore, the value you negotiate with the dealer for your trade-in vehicle is not likely to exceed its scrap value. The law requires the dealer to disclose to you an estimate of the scrap value of your trade-in vehicle.
Is the credit subject to being taxed as income to the consumers or dealers that participate in the program?
The CARS Act expressly provides that the credit is not income for the consumer. However, the credit will be considered as income for the dealer.
What new vehicles may be acquired under the CARS program?
The CARS Act applies to new vehicles. Thus, used vehicles do not qualify under the program.
The new vehicle must have a manufacturer's suggested retail price of not more than $45,000. That price appears on the window sticker on new vehicles. The new vehicle must also achieve minimum combined fuel economy levels. For passenger automobiles, the new vehicle must have a combined fuel economy value of at least 22 miles per gallon. For category 1 trucks, the new vehicle must have a combined fuel economy value of at least 18 miles per gallon. For category 2 trucks, the new vehicle must have a combined fuel economy value of at least 15 miles per gallon. Category 3 trucks have no minimum fuel economy requirement; however, there are special requirements that apply to the purchase of category 3 vehicles.
As noted above, the CARS Act also requires that NHTSA make available on an Internet website a comprehensive list of new vehicles that meet the requirements of the program. Until that information is posted on the program's website, consumers may determine whether a new vehicle meets the fuel economy requirements of the program in two ways. First, the combined fuel economy of a new vehicle will be posted under the heading "Combined Fuel Economy" on the window sticker ("Monroney label") of a new vehicle. Second, you may also find the combined fuel economy value of a new vehicle by visiting http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.htm and searching for their vehicle to find its combined fuel economy value. When searching that website, consumers will need to know their vehicle's model year, make, model, engine size, and transmission type.