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Green Transportation:
CARS - Cash for Clunkers

Ford Escape HybridOn June 23, 2009 President Obama signed the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save (CARS) Program, aka Cash for Clunkers, into law. Between now and October 31st, $1 billion is available to help sell new vehicles.

Cash for Clunkers hits the road on July 24, when the Department of Transportation will finalize the rules of the program. Visit the official CARS Program website for official program information. Also, we've created a Sierra Club Cash for Clunkers Calculator which allows you to see how much you'll save by driving a more efficient vehicle.

The CARS program encourages owners of old gas guzzlers to trade in their vehicle for a $3,500-$4,500 voucher towards the purchase of a new, more-efficient vehicle. The gas guzzler in this case is any car, SUV, pickup or van that gets 18 miles or less to the gallon and was built in 1984 or later. Large pickups and cargo vans have different standards that apply.

Unfortunately, the CARS program does little to encourage consumers to buy vehicles with the best fuel economy. Believe it or not, an owner of a 14 mpg gas guzzling truck could trade that vehicle in and get $3,500 taxpayer dollars toward the purchase of a 15 mpg gas guzzler! That kind of purchase will not help reduce our dependence on oil or slash global warming.

Making the Most of Cash for Clunkers

It is now up to us to make the most of this Cash for Clunkers program. Consumers are in the driver's seat and can ensure that $1 billion taxpayer dollars go towards getting old, polluting vehicles off the road and replacing them with the most efficient vehicles that automakers have to offer.

If you are participating in the Cash for Clunkers program, amp up your MPGs by picking one of the most fuel efficient vehicles automakers have to sell! Not only will you help curb global warming, you'll save money at the pump. Here are 5 easy steps you can take to get the most of Cash for Clunkers.

  1. Pick out the fuel efficient vehicle you want to purchase. Buying a car with a high fuel economy rating will save you money and cut global warming pollution. Use our Cash for Clunkers calculator to see your personal savings, and look below at some fuel economy all-stars to choose from.
  2. Visit CARS.gov - This is the government's info site that will help you confirm that your old vehicle qualifies for the program, locate a registered dealer near you, and find answers to other questions you have about CARS
  3. Talk to your registered dealer before you mention you have a guzzler to trade in. Find out what the best deal is for that vehicle; then
  4. Drive your guzzler to the dealer that offers you the best price on the highly efficient vehicle of your choice. Your guzzler will be crushed and recycled, not resold, and you will get a voucher toward the purchase of your new car. Be sure to talk to your dealer about the scrap value of your guzzler - you can apply some of the scrap value toward your purchase.
  5. Join our Cash for Clunkers group on Climate Crossroads and let us know what you traded in and what you purchased with your voucher!

Chevrolet CobaltCash for Clunkers Resources

  • CARS.gov - The official CARS website, run by Department of Transportation
  • Fueleconomy.gov - Find the fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions of any vehicle at this EPA website
  • Greenercars.org - View green car ratings from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
  • kbb.com/cashforclunkers - Use this Kelly Blue Book calculator to determine whether you'll save more by trading in your used vehicle or scrapping it under the Cash for Clunkers program.

 

Note: Fuel economy listings are EPA label values. Fuel economy and annual fuel savings data are EPA estimates from fueleconomy.gov.

Fuel Economy All-Stars: Cars

Year

Vehicle

MPG

Annual Fuel Savings (compared to 18 mpg vehicle)

 

2010

Toyota Prius

50

$1,486

2009

Honda Civic Hybrid

42

$1,347

2010

Ford Fusion Hybrid FWD

39

$1,281

2010

Mercury Milan Hybrid FWD

39

$1,281

2009

smart fortwo coupe

36

$1,109

2009

Volkswagen Jetta

34

$1,217

2009

Nissan Altima Hybrid

34

$1,142

2009

Toyota Camry Hybrid

34

$1,142

2009

Volkswagen Jetta

33

$1,186

2009

Toyota Yaris

32

$1,072

 

Fuel Economy All-Stars: SUVs and Trucks

Year

Vehicle

MPG

Annual Fuel Savings (compared to 14 mpg vehicle)

 

2009

Volkswagen Jetta Sportswagen

34

$1,849

2009

Ford Escape Hybrid FWD

32

$1,704

2009

Mazda Tribute Hybrid 2WD

32

$1,704

2009

Mercury Mariner Hybrid FWD

32

$1,704

2010

Lexus RX 450H AWD

29

$1,473

2009

Ford Escape Hybrid 4WD

28

$1,543

2009

Mazda Tribute Hybrid 4WD

28

$1,543

2009

Saturn Vue Hybrid

28

$1,543

2009

Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4WD

26

$1,441

2010

Chevrolet Equinox FWD

26

$1,441

 

Fuel Economy All-Stars: Domestic Cars

Year

Vehicle

MPG

Annual Fuel Savings (compared to 18 mpg vehicle)

 

2009

Chevrolet Cobalt XFE

30

$816

2009

Pontiac G3 Wave

30

$816

2009

Pontiac G5 XFE

30

$816

2009

Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

29

$772

2009

Saturn Aura Hybrid

29

$772

2009

Ford Focus

28

$728

2009

Dodge Caliber

27

$681

2009

Saturn Astra

27

$681

2009

Chevrolet Malibu

26

$626

 

Fuel Economy All-Star HYBRID Cars

Year

Vehicle

MPG

Annual Fuel Savings (compared to 18 mpg vehicle)

 

2010

Toyota Prius

50

$1,486

2009

Honda Civic Hybrid

42

$1,281

2010

Honda Insight

41

$1,281

2010

Ford Fusion Hybrid FWD

39

$1,347

2010

Mercury Milan Hybrid FWD

39

$1,325

2009

Nissan Altima Hybrid

34

$1,142

2010

Toyota Camry Hybrid

34

$1,072

2009

Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

29

$1,072

2009

Saturn Vue Hybrid

28

$1,072

 

Fuel Economy All-Star HYBRID Trucks

Year

Vehicle

MPG

Annual Fuel Savings (compared to 14 mpg vehicle)

 

2009

Ford Escape Hybrid FWD

32

$1,774

2009

Mazda Tribute Hybrid 2WED

32

$1,521

2009

Mercury Mariner Hybrid FWD

32

$1,543

2010

Lexus RX 450 H

30

$1,441

2009

Saturn Aura Hybrid

29

$1,587

2009

Toyota Highlander Hyrbid 4WD

26

$1,587

2009

Chevrolet Silverado 15 Hybrid 2WD

21

$1,108

2009

Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid 2WD

21

$1,108

2009

GMC Sierra 15 Hybrid 2WD

21

$1,108

2009

Chrysler Aspen HEV

21

$1,108




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