Friday, August 21, 2009

Cash for Clunkers

Sondra and I have been busy these past couple of weeks trying to buy a new car for cheap. Part of that pursuit is because of the government program called Cash for Clunkers. We have an old 1995 Ford 12-passenger van with the seats removed, and we use it like a pickup truck. It gets about 8-10 miles per gallon, so we knew it would qualify for the CARS program.

We thought it would be an easy process. Find an inexpensive gas-saving small car, turn in the clunker, pay for the car and leave.

Wrong. There are so many restrictions. The vehicle needs to be registered for the past 12 months. Must have been insured continuously for the past 12 months. Must have been in your name for the past 12 months. Must be in running condition when brought to the dealer. Must have a clear title (pink slip).

Fortunately, our van fit the bill for all those rules.

Unfortunately, the van is considered a Class 3 truck because it has a GVW (gross vehicle weight) of over 8500 pounds. That means that we are restricted to a Class 2 or Class 3 vehicle to purchase. Those vehicles are the big SUVs and big pickup trucks. We were stunned. We had a Nissan Sentra that we were looking at, one that gets 35 mpg. The salesman came back and said, "Sorry, you can't buy that Sentra under this program. But we do have the Frontier and the Armada that will fit that restriction."

Sure. For double the price and almost half the miles per gallon. Someone didn't think this one through on the government level. If you want me to be more fuel efficient, let me buy any car that gets good gas mileage. Don't make me buy a big vehicle, just because it fits the "truck" designation. I don't have the money, I don't have the inclination for it, I don't like it!

Well, I still have the van. And I don't have a new car yet. I have only enough money for half the vehicle they say I have to buy. Sorry, my pockets are empty.

I know there is a lesson to be learned in all this that we have gone through. Driving to so many dealerships, some even in the Los Angeles area about 50 miles away. Talking to so many salesmen (and saleswomen). Looking at every aspect of money and trying to pay cash only. There is a lesson, but I don't want to know it yet. I'm still smiling but not in a new car! Ha.

Thanks for letting me vent!

1 comment:

  1. You've learned a very valuable lesson and you said it yourself: "Someone didn't think this one through on the government level."

    Doesn't it just make you feel peachy about a national health care system?

    Rick Rogers