US & World

“Cash for Clunkers” lives for another weekend

Congress today quickly passed legislation to pump an extra $2 billion into the federal government's popular “Cash for Clunkers” program. The extra money will keep the program in effect over the weekend.

The “Cash for Clunkers” rebate program provides up to $4,500 when a customer swaps an older gas-guzzler for a new, more fuel efficient car.

Paul Lunsford co-owns South Coast Toyota in Costa Mesa. He told KPCC’s Larry Mantle that his dealership sold cars right up to midnight last night.

Paul Lunsford: "We’re excited every time they tell us we can continue to do it because it’s something that works well with for the dealer. And it really is something in all this stimulus that we’ve been doing over the last period of time, this is really the first one that truly and is really benefiting the customer. And I think that’s why you’re seeing such a tremendous support from the consumer."

Lunsford says customers are coming in with true “clunkers.”

Paul Lunsford: They’re bringing in stuff that is low mileage; cars that are old and that are beat-up; cars that are probably, if they were selling them on the street, are $500 cars. If they were trading them to the dealer; maybe it’s a couple hundred dollar car.

California US Senator Dianne Feinstein is asking the Transportation Department for details on how “Cash for Clunkers” has worked. She wants to know if the money is bringing the country “significant fuel economy gains” as promised.