The Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), also known as the Cash for Clunkers Program, provided Federal rebate money for consumers who traded old vehicles with an EPA combined fuel economy of 18 miles per gallon or less for brand new vehicles with improved fuel economy. The program was active from July 1 to August 24, 2009 and about 685,000 vehicles were traded. The average fuel economy for traded vehicles was 15.8 miles per gallon (mpg), while the average for the newly purchased vehicles was 24.9 mpg – a 58% improvement. The majority of vehicles traded were trucks (84%), but the vehicles purchased were mostly passenger cars (59%). The four-wheel drive Ford Explorer was the top trade-in vehicle, while the Toyota Camry was the top vehicle purchased.
Average Fuel Economy for Vehicles in the CARS Program
Share of Vehicles in the CARS Program by Type
|Miles per Gallon|
Note: Based on EPA combined fuel economy ratings.
|Vehicle Type||Traded-in||Purchased New|
|Category 1 Truck||65.8%||33.8%|
|Category 2 Truck||17.1%||6.8%|
|Category 3 Truck||1.2%||0.4%|
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Press Release, Wednesday, August 26, 2009, DOT 133-09.