Cash for Clunkers Buying New Guzzlers

By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 13, 2009 4:41 AM CDT
A customer walks past a Hummer and Cadillacs for sale at a General Motors dealership in Burlingame, Calif.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
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(Newser) – The Obama administration is hyping the cash-for-clunkers program as a chance for Americans to buy more fuel efficient cars, but not all buyers are going greener. Bulky SUVs and even trucks can be purchased with the $3 billion government subsidies, reports AP. Washington is refusing to release detailed records of the clunkers program, but one auto website has posted data showing buyers are gravitating toward gas guzzlers.

To qualify for the subsidy buyers only need to have a comparable vehicle that gets 2 mpg less than a new purchase, which can't cost over $45,000—lax enough rules to make a fuel-swallowing BMW X3 eligible. In Miami, one dealer said that "Cash for Clunkers is definitely generating traffic" for his biggest, most inefficient vehicles. He has sold three Cadillac SRXs, which get only 18 mpg, and is even hoping to move some Hummers.