The government plans to suspend its popular "cash for clunkers" program amid concerns it could quickly use up the $1 billion in rebates for new car purchases. The Transportation Department called lawmakers' offices to alert them to the decision to suspend the program at midnight Friday. The program offers owners of old cars and trucks $3,500 or $4,500 toward a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle.
Through yesterday, about 23,000 vehicles had been purchased through the program and nearly $96 million spent. But dealers raised concerns about large backlogs in the processing of the deals, prompting the suspension. It's possible that dealers already may have surpassed the 250,000 vehicle sales funded by the program. "There's a significant backlog for 'cash for clunkers' deals that make us question how much funding is still available in the program," said a spokesman for a dealers association.