‘Cash for Clunkers’ Hugely Successful at Buying People New Pickup Trucks

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Photo: Getty Images

So a few months and Freedom of Information Act requests later, it turns out that more than anything else, Americans used the wildly popular “Cash for Clunkers” stimulus program to hustle the government into buying them new trucks. The most common trade in the program was one Ford F150 pickup truck for another.

The single most common swap — which occurred more than 8,200 times — involved Ford F150 pickup owners who took advantage of a government rebate to trade their old trucks for new Ford F150s. They were 17 times more likely to buy a new F150 than, say, a Toyota Prius. The fuel economy for the new trucks ranged from 15 mpg to 17 mpg based on engine size and other factors, an improvement of just 1 mpg to 3 mpg over the clunkers.



And even though the program was touted as a great opportunity for Americans to make the move to more fuel-efficient cars, those pickup-for-pickup trades didn’t break any of the rules. The nearly 150 instances, however, where clunkers were replaced with even less fuel-efficient cars, like Suburbans that weigh almost three tons: different story. Yeah, some people are going to have to give their money back.




Clunker Pickups Traded for New Pickups [AP]