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Cash for Clunkers has been called 'one of the most successful stimulus projects in the history of the country' by Obama administration officials. It blazed through its first billion dollars in funding in under a week, quickly got approved for $2 billion more, and now it looks like the popular program will run out of gas for good next Monday.Which means the $3 billion allotted for the program will have been depleted in less than a month. The program, as you likely know, allows vehicle owners to trade in their older, emissions-heavy cars for a rebate (worth $3,500 or $4,500) towards a new, (barely) more efficient car. Nearly 500,000 applications for the rebates have already been sent in, and the Obama administration estimates that by the end of Monday, August 24th, they'll have maxed out the funding for the program.
According to Grist,
The program was supposed to run through Labor Day, as it received a $2 billion extension earlier this month after exhausting its initial allocation. But the Department of Transportation said on Thursday that overwhelming demand has forced the program to end early to ensure that there are enough funds to make good on already-promised rebates.So if you've still got a clunker in your garage and you're looking for an upgrade, the administration suggests you get the application in by next Monday. However, Grist also reports that there's a permanent version of Cash for Clunkers in the works, one that would reward those who buy fuel efficient vehicles with a tax break. That bill has been introduced by John Kerry (D-MA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Dick Lugar (R-IN), and Jeff Bingham (D-NM). The legislation doesn't appear to require the junking of an older car, so it should actually be even more effective from an environmental standpoint than the admittedly rather environmentally dubious Cash for Clunkers.