Some Clunker Deals Based on Old EPA Numbers Will Be Honored, DOT RulesBy Michelle Krebs July 30, 2009
The U.S. Department of Transportation has ruled that deals involving Cash for Clunkers trade- ins based on old mileage numbers and consummated before July 24 will be honored, but deals consummated after July 24 on vehicles that became ineligible as clunkers due to mileage ratings changes will not be honored.
On the eve of launching the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) program, administered by the DOT, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) updated the critical combined fuel economy numbers that is a key determinant in whether a vehicle is a clunker or not. As a result, about 100 models changed status -- about half went from qualified to disqualified as clunkers; the other half became eligible as clunkers.
DOT spokesman Rae Tyson told Edmunds' AutoObserver.com Thursday that transactions involving clunkers that went from qualified to disqualified will be honored by the government if they were consummated before the July 24 program launch date. Transactions on vehicles that became ineligible as clunkers and consummated after July 24 will not be honored.
Vehicles that previously were not eligible as clunkers but became eligible with the EPA changes will be honored if the transactions were consummated after July 24.
Edmunds.com brought the glitch to the government's and public's attention after visitors to the car-shopping Web site and its various forums and message boards raised it. Some consumers reported to Edmunds that their vehicles qualified as a clunker on Thursday, but when they double-checked or were at the dealership, they discovered they no longer were eligible.
DOT spokesman Rae Tyson said he did not know how many transactions were involved. -- By Michelle Krebs