"Cash for Clunkers" is just about out of cash and the U.S. House will vote this afternoon to provide $2 billion more for the program that was designed to replace gas-guzzlers with new, fuel-efficient vehicles.
Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, was among the early advocates of the "Cash for Clunkers" program.
"When we were setting up this program and authorizing funding for it, there was a thought about setting it up as an initial payment system, with the idea that the funds would be available for a fixed period of time and if the program was successful and beneficial in stimulating the economy, it could be expanded over a broader period of time," Braley said yesterday.
The program’s been available for about a week and federal officials say about 40,000 new vehicles have been purchased through the program. But dealers estimate another 200,000vehicles have been sold this week, too — a huge jump in sales for the beleaguered car industry.
"This is actually doing something to spur the economy both on a national level and a local level," says Mark Zimmerman, owner of the Mark Zimmerman Ford, BMW, Hyundai, Mitsubishi in Cedar Rapids.
Zimmerman’s dealership has sold more than 50 vehicles in the past week, but not all have been "Cash for Clunkers" deals.
"It’s kind of a contagious thing, you know, when you have a friend or a relative or a co-worker that gets a new vehicle, you start thinking about it," he says.
If you were planning to try to trade in your "old beater" this weekend, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said this morning the "Cash for Clunkers" program is still "up and running." Many dealership have been running additional promotions as well, spurring sales at the close of the month.