Think your clunker gets 18 mpg combined? Plan on cashing in on the CARS clunker rebate program? You might want to double check those EPA numbers over at fueleconomy.gov. As part of the buildup to the Cash For Clunker program, the EPA undertook “quality assurance and quality control effort regarding fuel economy calculations on more than 30,000 vehicle model types spanning the past 25 years.” But according to CNN Money, this pre-stimulus housecleaning turned up bad data for about 100 vehicles and ended up changing their clunker rebate eligibility. Although “roughly” the same number of cars became newly eligible as became newly ineligible, this news came as a nasty surprise to owners of the 1993 Camry V6 wagon, 1995 Saab 900S, 1988 Toyota 4Runner and the 1987 Mercury Grand Marquis. And since the EPA’s statistical quality control didn’t take place until the official launch of the program, some shoppers had their deals planned out before realizing that their trade-ins were too efficient to qualify. Meanwhile, dealers have their own complaints about the program.
One anonymous dealer writes:
I wish you would let us opt out of the cash for clunkers deal. Three dealers on the conference call stated that they were not fucking with this bullshit. You wouldn’t believe the bullshit involved in this. I don’t see this costing us any significant sales. We will waste more time fucking with this than it will ever be worth. The rebates are in place to subsidize the deal. Collecting our money will be a full time job.