Pickup Trucks and the Cash for Clunkers Bill

Pickup Trucks and the Cash for Clunkers Bill

Both houses of Congress have agreed to the terms of the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act, also known as Cash for Clunkers, that will provide vouchers to help buy new cars or trucks in exchange for scrapping less fuel-efficient vehicles.

What does Cash for Clunkers mean for pickup truck buyers? It depends on a truck's size, fuel economy and age.

Cash for Clunkers splits trucks into three categories: light-duty trucks, large light-duty trucks and work trucks. The categories are based on the U.S. Department of Transportation's truck classification system, which is based on a truck's gross vehicle weight rating (dry curb weight plus passengers, fuel and payload).


Light-duty trucks, such as a 2000 Chevrolet S-10 compact, align with DOT Class 1 (GVWR under 6,000 pounds). Owners can qualify for a $3,500 voucher if the new light-duty truck they're buying has a combined fuel economy rating of at least 18 mpg, and if that mileage is at least 2 mpg higher than their old truck. If the mileage of the new truck or SUV is at least 5 mpg higher, the voucher will be $4,500. The old truck has to be a 1984 model or newer.

Large light-duty trucks, such as a 2000 Ford F-150, align somewhat with DOT Class 2 (GVWR 6,000-10,000 pounds), but only up to 8,500 pounds. Owners can qualify for a $3,500 voucher if the new large light-duty truck they're buying has a combined rating of at least 15 mpg, and if that mileage is at least 1 mpg higher than their old truck. If the mileage of the new truck or SUV is at least 2 mpg higher, the voucher will be $4,500. The old truck has to be a 1984 model or newer.

Work trucks, such as a 2000 Dodge Ram 3500, also fall under DOT Class 2, but weigh between 8,500 and 10,000 pounds. Owners can qualify for a $3,500 voucher for a new work truck or trade down to a large light-duty truck from any 2001-model-year or older work truck. There's no mileage requirement on these trucks because the EPA doesn't require fuel-economy ratings on heavy-duty pickups. Work truck vouchers will be limited to only 7.5 percent of the total Cash for Clunkers funds.

All trucks have to be driveable and must have been continuously insured and registered to the same owner for at least one year.

(H/T to Jalopnik for graphic layout)


60% the cars that are currently donated to charity will now be eligible for a $3500 or $4500 voucher under the cash for clunkers program. Since the tax deduction for donating a car is only $500 or what the car sells charities won't be able to compete with the program and charitable car donation will end. A better idea is to just change the amount a person can deduct for donating their car back to the book value. That way every car is eligible, the government doesn't have to spend $4 million of our dollars giving away vouchers and trying to administer a program that is way too convoluted!

The key thing here is will the dealers or automobile manufacturers keep the "existing rebates" or will this just be a replacement and the customer in the end will not get a better deal!

If this is coupled with the existing rebates it could give incentive to buy, but if taxpayer money is used just as a subsitute it is bad business!

Well with 2 of the auto companies under govt control, its taxpayer money either way. But it would be better if this was a add on rebate even if I do disagree with it.

But I'm alil confused on how this works. What if you turn in a light duty truck and want to buy a large light duty truck? Does that work and which catagory does it fall under?

@theshyguy: Hey Heath, you can only trade down from a Work Truck to a Large Light Duty Truck, or get a credit towards a new Work Truck. A Large Light Duty Truck can only get credit towards a new Large Light Duty Truck. Same goes for Light Duty Truck.

So can you get the trade in on your older truck plus the voucher or not? I can't see trading in a newer truck to have it crushed.

Just another way our beloved president is trying to downsize our vehicles (and country) and make us like Europe with small junk that nobody really wants. People only want fuel efficient vehicles when gas/diesel are 4-5 dollars per gallon. And if the choice was an SUV or truck that gets 50 mpg, or a little matchbox car that gets 50 mpg, which do you think the average consumer will buy? We're AMERICA!! I despise how the gov't is trying to make us live like other countries. This apples to oranges comparison of America's lifestyle next to other nations is RIDICULOUS!! We have a different way of life, so we have different vehicles. We aren't all the same!! Keep the euro-econo-crap cars out of this country. We already have too many as it is.

@Ron: By trade down, I mean scrap your Work Truck, get a voucher and use that to buy a Large Light Duty.

amen to Dustin. Look, all the old vehicles running around, are pickup trucks. Why? Because they run forever. They are simple, tough and brilliant. Cheap to buy, Great fun to drive, and very reliable. You won't see all that from a Eurotrash car.

my advice, keep yo old car or truck and see what happens to the

"clunker" deal

I don't understand this, with Old EPA calcuation those older model cars did not get even close real time mpg, now the newer EPA estimate gets better number in real time driving...so are they going to calcualte older EPA versus newer EPA mpg?

My dad swears by the car buying process here: http://excarsalesman.typepad.com/

I haven't tried it yet, but I might because it looks good. I have an old civic that doesn't qualify :(

I would like to use this to trade in my 1994 Mazda B4000 4wd, but according to fueleconomy.gov, NOTHING currently with 4wd in the small truck category is more then the 18MPG that my 15 yr old truck makes.

ADay, the Toyota Tacoma 4x4 does, 19 Mpg.

Bob, you are correct. But if I read the program correctly the new truck needs to get at least 2MPG better then the vehicle it replaces.

I don't qualify because my car already gets good gas mileage. But my dad swears by the car buying process here:

I have a feeling dealers are going to automatically increase prices because of the increased demand (artificial) for great MPG cars. So the thousands of savings from this bill for consumers is not entirely accurate.

With the price increase, I'm certain some markets you'll come out even as if they never offered this voucher. It is poorly written legislation.


Some of the info is good but not all. There is a better way to buy a vehicle (I am a former car salesman, car sales manager, and car finance manager). This works with most brands of cars (excluding exotics, Acuras, Lexus or extremely popular models):

1. Line up your financing before you even start looking for a car. Dealerships make 1-5 percentage points on your financing (if it isn't some special manufacturer's financing).
2. Never, never, never lease a car unless you drive less than 12K miles per year and/or you're a business owner.
3. Go online to the manufacturer's website and determine which car model, trim package, options, color options, etc. that you want; write it down.
4. Go to KBB.com or edmunds.com to get the dealer invoice price for the car and those options.... (you will need this later)
5. Go back to the manufacturer's website to get the email addresses for at least 5 dealers in your area. Those email addresses are for the fleet department; the fleet manager gets all those emails.
6. Send an email to all those fleet managers (list them all in the same email) telling them the car, color, trim and options you are looking for. Tell them you are willing to pay $100 over invoice (they still make money on the manufacturer's hold-backs based on sales volume).

Typically, it takes a few days but one or two of the dealers will come back with a vehicle that closely matches the vehicle you requested. This works because the fleet manager works on volume (this helps the dealer get bigger hold-backs from the manufacturer); he is interested in moving volume. Confirm the price by comparing it to the info you got on dealer invoice.

I've personally purchased five vehicles this way and helped dozens of friends purchase their vehicles this way. It's so nice to walk into the dealership, sign the paperwork and walk out without the sales dance. Usually, you can be in and out of the dealership in 30-45 minutes.

I purchased my last Dodge Ram 1500 Lariat this way. It was a previous year model; the retail price was $38K and I paid $26.5K after discounts and rebates.

Hey I loved the guy's comments about our Gov't losing sight of the American lifestyle and our unique vehicle mix. I have traveled the world and I love America!...and our own cars and trucks. I'm not naive about American content in our vehicles. Much of the electrical and interior components are foreign made. Still I prefer American brands and styles we dictate for our cars/trucks. And while I don't subscribe to all the UAW leadership tract, I would still prefer to see the cash for clunker bill/American tax dollars support UAW assembled brands "only". This will get our own assembly people working...affording new trucks. Hey Japan rocks and Korea has all kinds of potential. They make some cool rides too. But I'm an American tax payer and I want Americans working and loving our lifestyle.

Mike: In the light duty truck portion of this article you use a 2000 Chevy S-10 as your example, accordng to www.fueleconomy.gov it's combined MPG is 19 so does it qualify to be traded in for the rebate?

Why are the American taxpayers suplementing the Japanese automakers? (And Korean for that matter). There is no incentive to buy American over import! Thanks No-Bama.

Can you do this with newer vehicles? IE: can i trade in my wifes 2008 Hyundai Veracruz, combined mpg of like 19 or 20, and get a ford fusion hybrid, at 41 mpg, and get the 4500?

They have tried this in Ca. and Tx. It was nothing but a tax dodge for big business. Also it is war on the poor why should someone working at Wal Mart who cannot afford a new car have to pay for someone who can. This is all under thguise of saving jobs and the earth and it does neither. It is a fraud waiting to happen. Yeah right you have to have the car a year.

I have a 99 Chevy Silverado 1500, 5.3 liter engine w/8ft bed and over 200,000 miles. It only gets about 12 mpg. Can I trade it in for a car?

Is this "rebate" on top of what a dealer may give you on a trade. In other words, seperate from trade in? Does all other rebates and incentives still apply ?
So if you were trading a 2004 full size truck for a 2010 full size truck does this apply ?

There are many schools of thought regarding this.......

But if an auto company leaves{ i believe Tens of Millions more } 33 MILLION people in the dust after losing a classaction suit.... By filing ch 11. Why would those 33 Million people buy from them again ? GM your dexcool classaction suit that you lost, Proved dexcool eats away at your headgaskets etc. From 1994-2004 MANY MODELS{ lookitup, its disgusting}

Why would anyone buy from Gm again? Cadillacs made in mexico....... & yes Gm has been in mexico since 1935. That is according to their website.

It may help the Federal Gov. if you buy a gm, But where will they be when you start breaking down ? Not sure ?

Ask one of those Tens of MILLIONS, how they feel after a classaction was won on their behalf { the payout was also paltry= i believe blown motor was $800 maxpayback. Gm isnt owned by me, because if it was, TEN YEARS OF CARS & TRUCKS FALLIN APART, wouldnt have Gone UNNOTICED.Dont you want to Buy an Auto From A Company That has a better history than that ?

P.S. I dont like to see friends aquaintances or strangers get burned. I just told 2 sets of senior citizens, That their GM cars are worthless, Though they were maintained. But when engineering ends along with their car commercial all you end up having is a scrap of metal with a shiny paintjob. Thanks gm, you car commercials are nice........ But i also Have a FULL PAGE CAR & DRIVER AD FROM LIFE MAGAZINE
THE CHEVY VEGA " CAR OF THE YEAR " Yep, my friends dad fell for that, & the nite he brought it home, he couldnt shift it....... Not an anomoly, just a gm.

@ Fred

Your Veracruz is worth more than $4500 anyway so the C4C would not make since, and i would hate to see a 2008 get crushed. That is just a waste.

I have a 87 Ford 350 -15 passenger window van Club Wagon with a 5.8 engine, because of the gross weight (9100 lbs) this van is listed as a category 3 truck and only can be traded in on a category 3 or category 2 truck, not a fuel efficient car. Does anyone know why?? If the purpose of the CAR's program was to get gas gusslers off the road and to generate new car sales what difference would it make if I wanted a new fuel efficient car and NOT another large gas hog truck or van. They destroy the traded in vehicle so I don't unsterstand the logic in this reguirement to participate in the "Cash for Clunkers" program.

This is just another way of bailout for car Industry with goverment money or sould I say tax payers?
I think they sould have helped out the rest of the ecmony.
Why always the car industry.

Hey guys - keep in mind that when you trade in that "clunker" you get ONLY the C4C rebate - no trade in. The dealer would be crazy to offer you anything for it. Remember, the engine and tranny (actually it says drivetrain - so axles and transfer case too?) must be destroyed.
For instance, if I did my 2001 Chevy Duramax/Allison 2500HD I could get $3500. But I can sell/trade that truck for far more. I'd also hate to see that Duramax engine and Allison Tranny destroyed.

So - only consider this if your vehicle is worth less than the credit.



How much would I be able to get for my 2010 f150 platinum??

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