Spotlight: Cash for Clunkers

Rebecca Cook / Reuters

Newly crushed vehicles sit in stacks before being shipped to the shredder at U.S. Auto Supply in Detroit, Michigan August 3, 2009.

When congress voted in june to play car dealer, some observers fretted that offering consumers $3,500 to $4,500 to trade in a gas guzzler for a more fuel-efficient new car wasn't going to be generous enough to attract many takers.

Turns out the terms may have been too rich. Cash for clunkers (the official name is Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save, a.k.a. CARS, but nobody calls it that) had customers scrambling to car dealerships in droves after it went live on July 27. Despite being in effect for only a few days, the program helped drive July auto sales to...

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