Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act of 2009 (CARS) 



The CARS or “Cash for Clunkers” automotive stimulus program allows a consumer to trade-in an old, fuel-inefficient vehicle and receive a voucher for either $3,500 or $4,500 to help pay for a new, more fuel efficient car or truck. The program runs from July 1 – October 31, 2009. Congress has provided $1 billion for the program, a sufficient amount for approximately 250,000 vehicles. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has 30 days following enactment to issue detailed regulations for the program. Check for ongoing program updates from the U.S. government. The basic requirements for passenger cars and light-duty trucks are listed in the chart below. Miles per gallon figures used are combined EPA “window sticker” values. The mpg figures are on EPA’s website at The correct number is listed as “Estimated New EPA mpg.” DOT will establish a new website listing all eligible trade-in vehicles, eligible new vehicles, as well as participating auto dealers and recyclers.


5 Important Things to Know

  Your vehicle must be less than 25 years old on the trade-in date

  Only purchase or lease of new vehicles qualify

  Generally, trade-in vehicles must get 18 or less combined MPG (some very large pick-up trucks and cargo vans have different requirements)

  Trade-in vehicles must be registered and insured continuously for the full year preceding the trade-in

  You may print a coupon, dealers will apply a credit at purchase – Get Coupon Here

For Passenger Cars For SUVs, Minivans and Light-

Duty Trucks (< 6,000 lbs)


Trade-in Vehicle:

Combined 18 mpg or less, in drivable condition and continuously insured and registered to the same owner for at least one year immediately prior to trade-in.  Manufactured less than 25 years before date of the trade-in.


New Vehicle:

Combined 22 mpg or more AND Combined 18 mpg or more AND 4-9 mpg improvement over trade-in vehicle, $3,500.  2-4 mpg improvement over trade-in vehicle, $3,500.  At least 10 mpg improvement over trade-in vehicle, $4,500.  At least 5 mpg improvement over trade-in vehicle, $4,500.  $45,000 or less MSRP.  Vehicle must be new and never titled.