Cash For Clunkers – Deal Ends Monday 8/24 at 8pm

Washington, DC, USA :

The US federal government's popular Cash For Clunkers incentive program will end coming Monday at 8 p.m. EST, a month after it began, Transportation Secreatary Ray LaHood announced today. According to LaHood, the $3 billion allotted for trade-ins has been largely spoken for.

As detailed in our article "Cash For Clunkers – A New Stimulus Package For The Common Junta", the $3 billion program provides vouchers of $3,500 or $4,500 to consumers who trade in older, less fuel-efficient vehicles for new ones that get better gasoline mileage. It has emerged as a successful economic-stimulus program and helped boost hard-hit auto makers.

"It's been a thrill to be part of the best economic news story in America," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. "Now we are working toward an orderly wind-down of this very popular program.". LaHood said the program's conclusion Monday night will allow car dealers and buyers "plenty of time" to finalize purchases and submit applications for rebates.

The move comes as the department tries to get an accurate accounting of how much money is left in the program, formally called the Car Allowance Rebate System.

The Transportation Department said the program recorded more than 457,000 dealer transactions valued at $1.9 billion in rebates.

Dealerships have been swamped with consumers looking to trade in their clunkers for a voucher worth up to $4,500 toward the purchase of a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle. Under the program, which kicked off July 24, dealers essentially front the money for the cash incentive with the understanding that the government will reimburse them once they file the necessary paperwork online and the deal is approved. But many dealers said they have not been reimbursed by the government and are becoming more cash-strapped.

Transportation officials said just under 40 percent or 170,000 of the applications have been reviewed so far, accounting for $145 million in payouts. But a large number of those are incomplete or have inaccurate information, which means the application is sent back to the dealer to be re-submitted, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters Thursday. To deal with the onslaught of paperwork, transportation officials said they expect to triple the number of workers processing forms by the end of this week to 1,100. The Department of Transportation said it has reviewed 167,000 applications, out of 458,000. They say they've also held web seminars to help dealers understand how to fill out the paperwork properly.

Officials initially thought money for the program would last at least through Labor Day. This shows how popular the program has been with consumers.

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