Friday, June 19, 2009

Cash For Clunkers

Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act of 2009 (CARS Act of 2009-H.R. 1550, S 247) passed in the House June 9 on a vote of 298-119. The Senate passed the legislation June 17 on a 60-36 procedural vote, winning the minimum number of votes needed to keep the program in a $106 billion war-spending plan.

The law will accelerate motor fuel savings nationwide and provide incentives to registered owners of high polluting automobiles to replace such automobiles with new fuel efficient and less polluting automobiles or public transportation.

Cash For Clunkers works by providing a $4,500 voucher for car owners whose present car gets less than 18 miles per gallon in fuel efficiency. Drivers who buy a car with a 10 MPG improvement over their previous car qualify for the entire $4,500 voucher, while those who choose a car with a 4 MPG improvement qualify for a $3,500 voucher. SUV and truck owners also qualify for the program but fall under slightly different qualifications.

Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act of 2009 - Establishes in the Department of Transportation the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save (CARS) Program. Directs the Secretary of Transportation, for FY2009-FY2011, to:

(1) encourage a dealer, dismantler, and scrap recycler to participate in the Program;

(2) authorize the issuance of a redeemable voucher by a participating dealer to the registered owner of a high polluting automobile for the purchase of a new fuel efficient automobile upon transfer of the eligible automobile title to a participating dealer, dismantler, or scrap recycler;

(3) require participating dealers to accept such vouchers as partial payment for the purchase of a new fuel efficient automobile; and

(4) electronically transfer funds to a participating dealer upon receipt of a voucher and relevant certifications from the dealer.

Requires any dealer receiving a certificate of title to any eligible high polluting automobile in exchange for a CARS voucher to certify to the Secretary that:

(1) such title has been retired or otherwise extinguished and not re-issued; and

(2) the dealer has received from a dismantler or recycler a certification that such automobile, engine, and drive train will be crushed or shredded within a certain period, will be processed prior to crushing or shredding to ensure removal and appropriate disposition of specified products, and has not been, and will not be, registered, sold, leased, exchanged, distributed, or otherwise operated at any time as an automobile in the United States or in any foreign country.

Requires the Secretary to promulgate regulations that allow operators of bus and rail public transit systems to redeem the allowable value of properly issued vouchers to offset the purchase price of annual or monthly transit passes or any other form of individual transit fare credit designated by the transit system operator.

Sets forth civil penalties for violations of this Act.

Directs the Secretary, for model year 2011, to revise the Program to provide for the issuance of vouchers to offset the purchase of a new battery electric automobile or a new plug-in electric drive automobile.

(CRS Summary-Govtrack.U.S.,PRNewsWire, Cash For Clunkers Facts, WSJ-6/13/09,, CQPolitics, YahooAutos)

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