Some calling "Cash for Clunkers" a clunker - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Some calling "Cash for Clunkers" a clunker

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by Bryan Goettel

KWWL - The government program, "Cash for Clunkers", gives consumers rebates to trade gas guzzlers for fuel-efficient vehicles.

The program was so popular it ran out of cash in a week. Now the senate is considering sending another $2 billion to the program.

New car dealers are seeing unprecedented business. Consumers are getting deals unlike any they've ever seen. Sounds like a win-win.

But that doesn't mean everybody is jumping on the "Cash for Clunkers" bandwagon.

John McAnelly has loved driving his 2000 BMW.

"It really is the Ultimate Driving Machine," McAnelly said. "It drives great."

But as a grad student, money's tight, and he's looking for something with fewer miles. That means selling the BMW.

"So far no bites, no calls even," McAnelly said.

Three weeks McAnelly has been trying...with no luck. While he has no way of knowing, he's guessing "Cash for Clunkers" is a factor.

"I've had experience selling cars before, just my own personal cars and usually get offers sooner than, well, three weeks," McAnelly said.

"My first thought was, what in the heck is the government doing here?" Warehouse Auto owner Jeff Carlson said.

There's no sugar-coating Carlson's feelings of the government's rebate program. The used car dealer says he's having one of his best July's ever. But he sees some long-term problems coming from what he calls "an unnatural disruption of the marketplace."

"There's folks out there that that is their price range, that used vehicle that's in that three, four, five thousand dollar price range and all of a sudden, they're out of the marketplace," Carlson said.

Even though there hasn't been a hint of interest on McAnelly's BMW, a glance up the driveway keeps him from complaining. His fiancee just got a new Ford with the help of "Cash for Clunkers."

"It's a good thing in many respects for new car dealerships," McAnelly said. "So it's a good thing. I'm not necessarily pulling against it."

Carlson said he's seen lots of programs trying to stimulate the new car business in his 17 years dealing in used cars.

But he says his business has always found a way to keep plugging along.

Even if the senate doesn't vote for more money for the program, the U.S. transportation secretary says any car purchase made Monday or Tuesday should still qualify.

Online Reporter: Bryan Goettel

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