Cash For Clunkers Upgrades Fuel Efficiency 58%

by | Sep 2, 2009

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clunkers2Vehicles upgraded through Cash for Clunkers gained 9.1 mpg on average, the goverment reports upon the conclusion of the Cash for Clunkers program.

Under the program, a total of nearly 700,000 vehicles were traded in, to be crushed. The average fuel efficiency of the trade-ins was 15.8 mpg, compared to an average fuel economy of 24.9 mpg for newly purchased vehicles, according to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, a division of the Department of Energy.

The upgrade resulted in an average fuel economy boost of 58 percent for each participant in the program.

Before Cash for Clunkers began, critics said that the trading of trucks for purchase of a new light truck, which only required a net fuel economy gain of 5 mpg versus 10 mpg for cars, would be a drag on the effectiveness of the program.

While trucks comprised 84 percent of vehicles traded in, only 41 percent of new vehicles purchased were trucks. Nearly 117,000 large pickups or vans were traded in, but only 46,838 new ones were purchased. A total of 8,134 heavy trucks were traded in and just 2,408 new heavy trucks purchased.

EERE reports that the average fuel economy of the new cars purchased was 19 percent better than the average fuel economy of all cars available for sale in the U.S. market.

Hyundai, Ford, Honda and Toyota – in that order – posted the biggest year to year gains for August sales, while General Motors actually saw a decline of nearly 20 percent, reports the Washington Post.

While the program has been a success for consumers and auto manufacturers, dealers so far say the government is slow in reimbursing rebates.

For instance, a south Florida car dealer has submitted nearly 50 claims since late July, but not a single one has yet been approved, reports Winknews.

Dealers had until Aug. 21 to submit paperwork. The Department of Transportation reports that rebate applications worth $2.877 billion were submitted, just shy of the $3 billion allocated for the program

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