Federal Politics

Published — August 6, 2009 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Did ‘cash for clunkers’ run dry or not?

Introduction

Thought “cash for clunkers” had run dry? Not quite. Despite widespread reports that the wildly popular program has burned through its $1 billion budget, nearly a quarter of the money may remain.

According to the Department of Transportation, as of today the government has received 184,000 voucher requests, which translate into $775 million in claims. A DOT spokeswoman provided the official figures but declined to comment on how many outstanding claims auto dealers may have yet to pass on to DOT for processing. The Senate was poised to vote on adding another $2 billion to the program today.

The conventional wisdom that the money was spent may have been fueled early by a “spot survey” conducted by an auto trade group. On July 31, four days after the program began, a press release from the National Automobile Dealers Association said its survey showed “the $1 billion appropriated by Congress for the program may already have been – or will soon be – spoken for.”

On Thursday, a spokesman for the association said some dealers may still be holding outstanding vouchers, though he did not know how many.

Although the numbers have been fuzzy, national media have repeatedly proclaimed that cash for clunkers had burnt through $1 billion in a week.

The confusion, according to industry experts, is rooted in a program that was quickly patched together and has been more successful than anticipated.

Kim Custer, spokesman for the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, said it was difficult to accurately track the voucher numbers in the early days of the program, which helped cause a panic that the money would run out and consumers who expected rebates would be left empty handed.“Nobody thought the volume and the pace was going to be this intense,” Custer said. “They funded it thinking the money would last for three months.”

Marc Cannon, senior vice president at Auto Nation, a national retailer that claims to be the world’s largest family of dealers, said he also suspects dealers have a backlog of outstanding vouchers. Dealers are just now getting the hang of the process of entering the vouchers into the government computer system, he said. Although some dealers have stopped offering the rebate over fears that the money is gone, Cannon said, Auto Nation is still “going gangbusters” with the program.

UPDATE: The Senate voted Thursday to expand the program by an additional $2 billion, sending the measure to President Obama, who is expected to sign it.

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SOUTH JERSEYTed SiroisMark SullivanTom LarkinAnonymous Recent comment authors
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Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Trump needs to conduct these activities because the entire MSM media, excluding Fox, is campaigning against him 24/7/365.

Didn’t Monica’s boyfriend’s wife and various criminal enterprises outspend Trump by almost 2-1?

CapitalistRoader
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CapitalistRoader

Why wouldn’t he get an early start on fund raising? Hillary outspent him two-to-one in 2016. The Dem’s are the party of big money. The President knows this and is attempting to get a jump on it. Of course the Dem candidate will outspend him in 2020 so it’s only rational that he starts fund raising now.

George Young
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George Young

Oh brother. We just 8 years of the Campaigner – in – Chief. Where was this journalistic rectal thermometer then. Just another article about 2000 words too long that merely takes another slap at Trump for something he far from initiated.

j stevenson
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j stevenson

The big difference between Trump and all the rest is his refusing to accept funds from lobbyists, so they don’t have the White House access they are used to. These are the donors who buy the presidency and are as pixxed off that he won the election as are the media and the Dems. Lobbyists have never been shut out of the WH and Trump has told them he is not for sale.

jan v
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jan v

all the lobbyists are running all our government agencies and all the career civil servants who know how to run the country have been fired. YOU think this is a good thing ? what a crock…

thomas alessi
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thomas alessi

I am for Trump

Martin Shellabarger
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J. Stevenson, what are you drinking? Trump has more lobbyists in his administration than probably any other president. Trump is totally “for sale”, and the corporations know it. Grow a brain!

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Trump needs to be impeached and tossed in prison. Then have the key thrown away so he will never be free. Then he can see how it feels not to have freedom.

Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Thank you for the usual insightful leftist low IQ Snowflake response.

barney
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hes not imprisoning them hes sending them back to their country chill tf out

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

WHY DONT YOU HAVE FREEDOM?

Tom Larkin
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Tom Larkin

First, something positive. I was happy to learn of empirical information in article. BUT, the article was so slanted against President Trump as to be deemed fake news (“Perhaps Trump just lied.” (Two different issues)). The article mentions that President Trump raised over $67 million, but ended 2018 with $19 million. President Trump spent over $40 million 2016 and 2017. President Trump conducted 57 political rallies. The article notes the hats and T-shirts sold, but NEVER MENTIONS THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS during a mid-term election that lost the House and the number of political rallies in… Read more »

Ted Sirois
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Ted Sirois

At least Trump is getting donations from willing donors. Fresh from his first election, Obama used billions of our children’s tax dollars to save thousands of union jobs in the car industry and bailed out the banks and many Wall Street businesses. This secured his source of reelection funds for his reelection four years later.

South Jersey
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South Jersey

TRUMP 2020; IS AN AMAZINGLY SMART MAN! VERY ORIGINAL & CREATIVE. I AM HAPPY TO HAVE HIS AS POTUS.

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

THIS ARTICLE WAS OBVIOUSLY WRITTEN BY, A TRUMP-HATE-GROUP. THAT FEELS; IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR OWN BRAND NAME. WHEN, IF FACT, IT IS NORMAL! >>>>> THIS IS >>> FAKE NEWS!!! <<<< ie: A PACK-OF-LIES; SPUN INTO; DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER. FOR A SINISTER-AGENDA OF; FASCIST DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST, COUP D'ETAT

David
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David

Are you on some kind of drugs? Writing in caps makes me think that you are grumpy old fart or a uneducated hillbilly.