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Cash for Clunkers Kicks Off!

It looks like the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) or otherwise known as "Cash for Clunkers" has launched this week.
For those who don't know, CARS basically does this: the government buys back old cars (which get a combined average mileage of 18 miles a gallon or less) from folks to scrap, and the seller gets $4,500 toward the purchase or lease of a new fuel-efficient car. Not a bad deal to help the environment, right? Via the New York Times blog Wheels:

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration said it would eventually provide "a comprehensive list of new vehicles that meet the requirements of the program." Until then, you can use the table found here to look up the fuel economy of all vehicles dating to 1984, the earliest model-year vehicle eligible for trade-in. Not every dealer is expected to participate in CARS. Those that do must register to be part of the program, and registrations may take a day or so to certify. So the agency recommends that consumers first call a dealer to see if it's participating (and has been certified) before going to the dealership. The program will run until Nov. 1 or when the $1 billion that Congress has allotted to the program runs out. And consumers can expect automakers to add their own incentives on top of the federal rebates.

Check out this AARP article for more info on Cash for Clunkers and whether it's the right option for you.

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