The "Cash for Clunkers" program is generating good business for a lot of Missouri car dealers…but some of those dealers are not as enthusiastic about it as they were at first. This morning, there are some doubts about the program’s future.
The program gives federally-subsidized rebates or credits to people who haul older, less fuel efficient cars and trucks to dealers and buy new vehicles seems to be going over well with consumers despite a change in the rules. The EPA changed the mileage qualifications, making 78 kinds of clunkers ineligible but adding 86 clunkers to the eligible list.
In fact it’s going over so well that some reports say the program already has been suspended because it’s out of money.
President Sam Barbee with the Missouri Auto Dealers Association says the dealers have lost a little steam, one reason being that dealers get reimbursed for the credits or rebates they issue.
"Not one transaction in the entire United Sates has been recognized yet as accepted," he says.
He says some dealers are likely to slow down on making any more deals if they don’t start getting approvals soon from the EPA. They also might slow down because of uncertainty about the program’s future that surfaced in Congress last night. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan said last night the program had burned through its one-billion available dollars in the first week. She is urging Congress and the Obama administration to put more money into the program.
An Obama administration official says the program is being evaluated but says it has NOT been suspended. A Transportation Department spokesman has told the Bloomberg news service that dealers would be alerted when funds begin to run low.
Barbee had been doubtful the program would make its November first shutoff date anyway.