GREEN
07/23/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Cash For Clunkers: Earn $4,500 For Your Gas Guzzler

If you trade your old vehicle for one that gets better mileage the government could provide you with federal vouchers of up to $4,500. An addition to the $106 billion dollar wartime spending bill, the Cash for Clunkers provision is an attempt to get gas-guzzlers off the road.

If you own a car that's bought after 1984 that gives you 18 miles to the gallon or less, you're good to go. For a trade with a car that gives you 22 mpg, you get $3,500. But you'd get $4,500 if the new car is 10 mpg higher in fuel efficiency. So who qualifies?
  • Your vehicle must be less than 25 years old on the trade-in date
  • Only purchase or lease of new vehicles qualify
  • Generally, trade-in vehicles must get 18 or less MPG (some very large pick-up trucks and cargo vans have different requirements)
  • Trade-in vehicles must be registered and insured continuously for the full year preceding the trade-in
  • You don't need a voucher, dealers will apply a credit at purchase
  • It needs to be worth less4,500
  • You cannot trade it in for a car that costs more than45,000

There's lots of controversy surrounding this bill, and critics argue that the program could end up providing vouchers towards the purchase of new gas-guzzling SUVs -- since the fuel efficiency requirements aren't stringent enough.

Others contend that the bill could take perfectly operational cars off the road and force consumers to buy new cars. But while details need to be worked out (there still isn't a proper plan for the disposable of old cars), car manufacturers are eagerly waiting for a rise in their sales charts.

To find the current EPG on the car you drive, click here: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/