Today, we kicked-off our Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) on the plaza at DOT headquarters. We’re very excited about the tremendous interest this program has generated and of the great job NHTSA is doing getting the program up and running.
I was joined by Rep. John Dingell, Sen. Carl Levin, and Rep. Sander Levin--all of Michigan--and Rep. Betty Sutton of Ohio as well as several folks from auto dealer associations. We also had on hand two fellows, John Bailey and John Mackereth, who have already taken advantage of CARS to trade-in their older gas-guzzlers for more fuel-efficient models.
The CARS program does three things:
- It helps struggling consumers to buy reliable vehicles they can depend on to get to work – while lowering their costs on gas and maintenance;
- It helps community dealerships – which are small businesses, after all – to weather the bad economy; and
- It helps to lower CO-2 emissions and reduce fuel consumption because any new vehicle purchased through this program must be more fuel-efficient than the one that’s traded in.
We think the CARS program is going to help put about 250,000 newer, more fuel-efficient cars and trucks on the road.
So far, nearly 16,000 dealers around the country have submitted applications to participate. We’ve received more than 45,000 calls. And our website, www.cars.gov, has already received 1.5 million hits!
That’s good news for the environment, for the economy, and for consumers’ wallets.
Consumers can trade in cars or light trucks at participating dealers and receive a rebate of $3,500 to $4500 toward a new vehicle.
To be eligible, your old car must be from 1984 or older. And it must get 18 miles to the gallon, or worse.
The Department of Transportation will reimburse dealers for the rebates, using $1 billion Congress allocated for the program.
Now we don’t want anybody trying to take advantage of consumers by offering phony deals. So here’s what you should know:
- The CARS.GOV website is the only official website for this program.
- Consumers should not respond to rebate offers from any other sources, including phone calls or other websites.
- Consumers should never share any personal information, like social security numbers, unless they’re sure they’re dealing with a legitimate business.
- We encourage everyone to learn more about the program, and whether it’s right for them, by going to our website.
We know times are tough. So, it makes sense to be open to all kinds of new ideas to help our economy grow.
The CARS program is a great opportunity for consumers, and it boosts the economy while it brings us closer to our goals for reducing our dependence on oil and cutting back on harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
That's a win-win-win situation.