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Cash for Clunkers running out of gas

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A billion dollars doesn’t go as far as you might think. Funding for the federal government’s Cash for Clunkers program is near empty, but it could get some refueling next week.

Dealers and drivers throughout the U.S. have loved the Cash for Clunkers program. At Jeff Gordon Chevrolet in Wilmington, about 20 clunkers that have qualified for the government rebate have been recycled. One of them belonged to Linda Quinonez.

“It wasn’t just a matter of getting the full amount for the clunker, the car had been discounted and we got a great deal on it so we couldn’t be happier,” she said.

In fact, car buyers throughout the country have been turning in their road warriors for up to $4,500 dollars in rebates so fast that the government has used up the billion dollars it set aside for the program.

Friday, that caused confusion for people trying to take advantage of the incentives.

“They said that there was a possibility of it being suspended, they weren’t sure, but they think today could be the last day we could take advantage of it,” said car shopper June Bonser.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve a bill that would put an additional $2 billion dollars into the program’s tank.

The government says they will honor trades through the weekend, as they wait for the Senate to vote on the $2 billion dollars.

All of the local care dealers WWAY spoke with say they’ve seen an increase in traffic on their lots thanks to the program. Some say they have been having problems finding clunkers that meet the requirements. Still, many drivers whose cars aren’t meeting the requirements have decided to leave the lot with a new car.

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The government’s cash for clunkers program has done exactly what it was designed to do: sell new cars and get gas guzzlers off the road. The program has been so successful that, like many of the clunkers traded in, the program is now broke.

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