Cash for clunkers, but for how much longer?

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - As you may know, the government's "Cash for Clunkers" program subsidizes the purchase of a new car if it's more fuel efficient than your current car. What you may not know is that the program has already used more than a third of its funding.

You've seen the commercials. So far, they've worked. "The phone has rang off the wall," said Rex Perry, owner of Rex Perry Autoplex in Nacogdoches.

Perry said the government's $1 billion program, "Cash for Clunkers" has reeled in countless customers. "I'd be surprised if it lasted until the end of August."

Witt Baynes cashed in his clunker Wednesday. "We feel like we got a good deal on our car, we feel like we got a fair amount of money for our clunker," said Baynes.

He cashed in his 1987 Cadillac for 4,500 bucks. "If the government is going to give away this money, you might as well stand in line for it," said Baynes.

Perry said there has been a few road bumps, such as a customer who initially qualified for the $4,500, only to have guidelines change a few days later. "I've seen the gas mileage EPA thing move around a little bit."

The program was designed to get gas guzzlers off the road, meaning the clunker must have an EPA rating of 18 miles per gallon or lower.

"If the overall goal was to get people to move to more fuel efficient cars and to stimulate the economy and stimulate the automotive business it has definitely done that," said Perry.

Baynes said it wasn't tough saying goodbye to his clunker.

The Texas Attorney General sent out a warning Wednesday about potential "Cash for Clunkers" scams online, and asks that you get all your information from the federal government's website.

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