"Cash for Clunkers" Gets Green Light In House Committee


Photo via Search Auto Parts

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has reached an agreement on a fleet modernization, or "cash-for-clunkers," proposal, which would pay consumers to get rid of their old, fuel inefficient cars for newer, more efficient ones. See if you qualify.Included in the agreement are:

Passenger Cars: The old vehicle must get less than 18 mpg. New passenger cars with mileage of at least 22 mpg are eligible for vouchers. If the mileage of the new car is at least 4 mpg higher than the old vehicle, the voucher will be worth $3,500. If the mileage of the new car is at least 10 mpg higher than the old vehicle, the voucher will be worth $4,500.

Small Trucks (and SUVs): The old vehicle must get less than 18 mpg. New small trucks or SUVs with mileage of at least 18 mpg are eligible for vouchers. If the mileage of the new truck or SUV is at least 2 mpg higher than the old vehicle, the voucher will be worth $3,500. If the mileage of the new truck or SUV is at least 5 mpg higher than the old vehicle, the voucher will be worth $4,500.

Large Light-Duty Trucks: The old vehicle must get less than 18 mpg. New large trucks (pick-ups and vans weighing between 6,000 and 8,500 pounds) with mileage of at least 15 mpg are eligible for vouchers. If the mileage of the new truck is at least 1 mpg higher than the old truck, the voucher will be worth $3,500. If the mileage of the new truck is at least 2 mpg higher than the old truck, the voucher will be worth $4,500.

Work Trucks: Under the agreement, consumers can trade in a pre-2002 work truck (defined as a pick-up truck or cargo van weighing from 8,500-10,000 pounds) and receive a voucher worth $3,500 for a new work truck in the same or smaller weight class. There will be a finite number of these vouchers based on this vehicle class's market share. There are no EPA mileage measures for these trucks; however, because newer models are cleaner than older models, the age requirement ensures that the trade will improve environmental quality. Consumers can also "trade down," receiving a $3,500 voucher for trading in an older work truck and purchasing a pick-up or van weighing between 6,000-8,500 lbs.

Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee, said that he hopes the agreement is a good precedent for the contentious climate debate that's brewing in the House. We'll see.

More cash for clunkers:
"Cash for Clunkers" Gains Momentum in Congress
Would You Cash In Your Clunker?

Tags: Congress | Driving | Energy Efficiency