"Cash for clunkers" offered the owners of old cars and trucks up to $4,500 if they traded in an old car for a new, more fuel-efficient one. The clunker had to get 18 miles per gallon or less. The program only started a week ago, but car dealers across the country saw an immediate rush.
"The atmosphere around the dealers just reminds me of, you know, 10 years ago, when people were just flocking in to buy cars — especially in the Silicon Valley," says David Horn, the general manager of Boardwalk Volkswagen in Redwood City, Calif.
However, Horn and many other dealers have put the "cash for clunkers" program on hold. Members of Congress have been told that the $950 million program is out of money.
According to Charles Cyrill of the National Automobile Dealers Association, many dealers are worried that they might not be able to get their reimbursements. They say there is a paperwork backlog in Washington. Still, they would like more money for the program because it has been such a boon for car sales.
"The timing of the 'cash for clunkers' program could not have happened at a better time," Cyrill says.
Several members of Congress say they too are working to find more money for the program, but given the current strains on the budget, it might be a difficult task.