The U.S. House of Representatives voted 316-109 Friday to augment the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) program by $2 billion. The additional funding will be transfered from energy stimulus funds.
Fears that the “Cash-for-Clunkers” program would die within days of its initial approval spurred the House to call a vote, an action that came within hours of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s report that the program would soon run out of funding.
Allegedly, gas-guzzler trade ins gobbled nearly $1B in just one week, according to the Wall Street Journal. President Barack Obama heralded the program as one that has “succeeded well beyond our expectations.”
The Senate is expected to take up the call next week, although there is concern that some Senators are likely to push for stronger environmental targets before approving any funding extensions, which effectively will change the cash for clunkers eligility criteria.
Not everyone is happy with the CARS program, despite its overwhelming popularity. Some consumers are chafing at the changes in the original m.p.g. statistics, which limited the number of cars originally eligible for trade-in rebates.
Also, according to the National Automotive Dealers Association (NADA), car dealers are experiencing “extraordinary difficulties… registering for the program and filing reimbursement claims.”
No matter how people feel about it, one thing is certain: “Any doubt that the CARS program would jump-start auto sales is completely erased,” said Greg Martin, a GM spokesman.