The government’s “Cash for Clunkers” program – which offers compensation for older automobiles swapped out for newer ones – has been more than successful. Apparently, Americans have swapped out so many clunkers that the government is scrambling to obtain more funding. Today the House approved a bill allotting another $2 million to fund the program; the proposal will run through September 30, 2010, and will draw from an Energy Department loan. The bill awaits approval by the Senate.
“Cash for Clunkers” provides up to $4,500 in rebates for consumers who trade in aging automobiles for newer, more fuel-efficient ones. The government launched the program in June, with an initial $1 billion, in order to jump-start the auto industry. According to unofficial estimates, consumers have already sold close to 250,000 vehicles to the program, quickly exhausting available funds. For the struggling auto industry, the program has, apparently, provided a viable, national stimulus. Analysts reportedly believe that, if the program continues, it will boost U.S. auto sales to a record high (for this year) of more than 10 million units for 2009.
Legislators are not in agreement over the funds; some oppose using Energy Department funds for the auto industry, while the White House supports the program.