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Cash for Clunkers By the Numbers

Cash for Clunkers sales by manufacturer. Click to enlarge.

The US Cash for Clunkers program (CARS) ended Tuesday night with 690,114 dealer transaction submitted worth $2,877.9 million. Eighty-four percent of consumers traded in trucks and 59% purchased passenger cars. The average fuel economy of the vehicles traded in was 15.8 mpg and the average fuel economy of vehicles purchased is 24.9 mpg: a 58% improvement. Cars purchased under the program are, on average, 19% above the average fuel economy of all new cars currently available.

With the end of transactions under the program, the Department of Transportation is augmenting a team that already includes more than 2,000 people processing dealer applications for rebates.

Toyota reaped the largest percentage of sales under the CARS program (19.4%), followed by GM (17.6%) and Ford (14.4%). Honda came in fourth at 13.0%. The top 10 vehicles purchased under the program were:

  1. Toyota Corolla
  2. Honda Civic
  3. Toyota Camry
  4. Ford Focus FWD
  5. Hyundai Elantra
  6. Nissan Versa
  7. Toyota Prius
  8. Honda Accord
  9. Honda Fit
  10. Ford Escape FWD

The top 10 trade in vehicles were:

  1. Ford Explorer 4WD
  2. Ford F150 Pickup 2WD
  3. Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD
  4. Ford Explorer 2WD
  5. Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan 2WD
  6. Jeep Cherokee 4WD
  7. Chevrolet Blazer 4WD
  8. Chevrolet C1500 Pickup 2WD
  9. Ford F150 Pickup 4WD
  10. Ford Windstar FWD Van
Voucher amount requested by state. Click to enlarge.

Passenger cars represented 58.6% of vehicles purchased under the CARS program (404,046 units).

California had the largest voucher dollar amount requested: $326,822,000, or 11.3% of the total—followed by Texas ($183,776,500, 6.4%) and New York ($156,292,000, 5.4%).


Ben B.

Assuming the average vehicle drives 12k miles/year, at current crude prices, CfC keeps about $3.25B in the economy per year. (690k cars * 12k miles/year * 9.1mpg * 19.5 gallons gas/barrel crude * $70 barrel). Obviously, many of these clunkers would have been traded in anyway. But, as far as government programs go, it could have been a lot worse.


Using that same 12,000 mile figure, I calculated that's about 191,548,042 gallons of gasoline not being burned this year. I don't know how many barrels of gas you get out of a barrel of crude.

Ben B.

In the calc I show above, there was a mistake (in how I showed it, not how I performed it). The actual calculation is:

690k cars *
12k miles/year/car =
8.28B miles/year

8.28B miles/year ÷
9.1 miles/gallon =
910MM gallons gasoline/year

How did you get to 191MM gallons?

And the conversion factor between crude and gasoline is 19.5 gallons/barrel (you get other products like kerosene in the refining process).


Has anyone noticed that 10 out of 10 of the clunkers sent to the junk yards were Big-3 units but that 8 out of 10 the replacement units not from the Big-3?

Is that a clear message from most buyers?

Ummm, someone needs to go back and double check those numbers, because GM was #2 in overall revenue but doesn't even show up in the Top 10? I have a feeling there is some greenwashing going on here. I would like to see the multiple model variants 2WD/4WD/V6/V8 etc combined.

According to numbers I've seen around 294k trucks and 60k cars were traded in for 147k trucks and 208k cars. While that's great, it doesn't show in any of those top 10's that 147k trucks were sold.

Actual Top 5 according to wikipedia...
1 Ford Escape/Escape Hybrid 4.8%
2 Ford Focus 4.5%
3 Jeep Patriot 3.6%
4 Dodge Caliber 3.1%
5 Ford F-150 2.9%

The Goracle


Just your typical government run program. And to think that there are people ignorant enough to actually WANT the government to control and run our health care system. My are people poorly educated!!!


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