‘Cash for Clunkers’ to end Monday at 8 p.m. ET

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Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Thursday, Aug. 20, that the “Cash for Clunkers” program will come to a close on Monday, Aug. 24, at 8 p.m. ET.

“This program has been a lifeline to the automobile industry, jump-starting a major sector of the economy and putting people back to work,” LaHood says. “At the same time, we’ve been able to take old, polluting cars off the road and help consumers purchase fuel-efficient vehicles.”

As of Thursday, the Car Allowance Rebate System had recorded more than 457,000 dealer transactions worth $1.9 billion in rebates. CARS has sparked intense interest, filling auto showrooms with buyers and revitalizing manufacturing plants. As a result of the program, automotive inventory has been depleted, and both General Motors and Ford are ramping up production, adding shifts and rehiring laid-off workers.

“It’s been a thrill to be part of the best economic news story in America,” LaHood says. “Now we are working toward an orderly wind-down of this very popular program.”

The program has provided rebates of up to $4,500 when people turned in their older vehicles for fuel-efficient vehicles. Most consumers have turned in trucks and SUVs in exchange for passenger cars, with an improved gas mileage of about 60 percent.

LaHood says the Monday night end date will allow car dealers and buyers plenty of time to finalize purchases and submit applications for rebate from the remainder of the $3 billion provided by Congress. Based on conservative estimates of valid transactions so far, DOT analysts have projected that there is enough money to continue accepting submissions until the Monday deadline.

Applications for rebates will not be accepted after 8 p.m. ET Monday, and dealers should not make further sales without receiving all the necessary paperwork from their customers. Dealers also are advised to submit complete applications, which will expedite payment, and they still will be able to resubmit rejected applications after the deadline. DOT says it is continuing to expand the number of people processing dealer applications for rebates by adding federal workers to the outside contractors currently at work.