Wednesday, July 29, 2009

EPA Changes MPG Ratings Last-Minute For Cash For Clunkers

In my post Does My Car Qualify For Cash for Clunkers?, one of the major requirements was that the car must have a combined fuel economy of 18 mpg or less, according to FuelEconomy.gov. Many people have been complaining that their old car gets nowhere near the mileage that the website says they do, but at least there was a definitive source.

But wait. Due to some government wackiness, last week the EPA changed the ratings on nearly a hundred models of cars so that they no longer qualify. For example, some versions of the 1988 Toyota 4Runner SUV now have combined MPG ratings of over 19. The buzz about Cash for Clunkers has been going on for months, so people have been getting ready to trade-in their old vehicles. In fact, the bill runs retroactive to July 1st, so many are already driving their new vehicles!

From this CNN Money article:

Even though the program’s basic requirements have been known since it was created by Congress earlier this year, Cash for Clunkers didn’t become official until Friday. So as part of the official launch, the EPA conducted “quality assurance and quality control effort regarding fuel economy calculations on more than 30,000 vehicle model types spanning the past 25 years,” according to an e-mail sent by EPA spokesman Dale Kemery.

As a result, 86 car models became newly eligible for the program. However, 78 models became ineligible, EPA spokeswoman Cathy Milbourne said in a statement released Tuesday night.

In other words, if you were close before, check your mileage numbers again. Your car may now qualify even though you didn’t before, or it may no longer qualify at all.

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