Thursday, August 06, 2009

Cash For Clunkers: Congress Is Selling Cars, Passes Bill

The Senate, on a vote of 60-37, just put $2 billion more into the government's "Cash for Clunkers" program to extend the popular trade-in arrangement until Labor Day. Congress appropriated $1 billion in mid-June, which was meant to stimulate the economy and get people to turn in their gas guzzlers for more fuel-efficient vehicles, but itran out of funds in days instead of by Nov. 1. Last week, the House hastily approved an additional $2 billion for the program. The White House backs extending the program and President Obama will sign the bill into law ASAP. Under the program, consumers can turn in their clunkers for a voucher worth up to $4,500 toward a new vehicle.

The Transportation Department put out new figures showing that a total of 184,304 trades had consumed $775.2 million of the $1 billion originally appropriated. The Toyota Corolla is the No. 1 selling new car under the clunker program.

Forty-five percent of the new car sales are from the Big Three American automakers. General Motors was the most popular choice, with 18.7 percent of the buyers choosing one of its vehicles, followed by Toyota with 17.9 percent and Ford with 16 percent. After the Corolla, the top-selling new vehicles are the Ford Focus, Honda Civic and Toyota's Prius and Camry. Of the new vehicles not manufactured by the Big Three, according to a preliminary analysis by the Transportation Department, "well over half" were made in United States. Of the trade-ins, more than 80 percent are trucks, the government said, with Ford's Explorer and F-150 pickup topping the list. The average miles per gallon of the new vehicles is 25.3, compared with the trade-ins that average 15.8 miles per gallon. (Wash Post, 9/9/09)

Sotomayor (68-31) and Cash For Clunkers approved on the same day. See? The Congress is being very productive.

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