Key Senators Back Off Cash for Clunkers Objections

Senators Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Olympia Snow (R-Me) have backed off objections they had over the Cash for Clunkers bill. The two Senators had pushed for a rewrite of the legislation to drive the sale of more fuel efficient vehicles than what the current law called for.

But, upon seeing the top ten list of cars bought under the program, the two are willing to support an extension of the law and fund it with an additional $2 billion. The bill had been funded with $1 billion, but that has been exhausted.

The top ten vehicles purchased so far under the program:

1. Ford Focus (pictured above) 2. Honda Civic 3. Toyota Corolla 4. Toyota Prius 5. Ford Escape 6. Toyota Camry 7. Dodge Caliber 8. Hyundai Elantra 9. Honda Fit 10. Chevy Cobalt

The Senate is being asked to pass a bill this week before they recess that would grant the program another $2 billion. The House passed its version last week. The program gives consumers either $3,500 or $4,500 if they surrender an old “clunker” that gets less than 18 mpg and buy a new car that gets better fuel economy. The rules and parameters of the program can be found at

The Senators had beefed that the law as written was too favorable toward people buying new pickups and SUVs instead of smaller, more gas thrifty cars. The list of new cars purchased, though, shows that consumers were more interested in getting the maximum benefit from the program, as well as bracing for higher gas prices. “People seem to be using the program to take out an insurance policy for when gas prices go back up to $4.00 per gallon,” said Ford senior sales analyst George Pipas.

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