Cash for Clunkers Runs Out of Money

The new federal rebate that makes it easier to buy a new car is a huge hit.

It’s almost too popular for its own good.

The Cash for Clunkers program started on Monday.

It allows anyone with an old car getting 18 miles a gallon or less to trade it in toward a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle.

The program had $1 billion in it.

It’s proven so popular that in just 4 days, it’s already run out of money.

Frei Chevrolet President Jim Grundstrom says the thinking was the money would last through November.

But when it comes to demand for the program, he says it looks like federal officials badly missed the mark.

Congress approved the use of $2 billion in stimulus money to keep the program going past this weekend.

15 people have applied for the rebate at Frei.

None of them have been approved yet.

Grundstrom says the backlogged system is the scary part — very few people have actually been approved so far.

He’s thankful that about a thousand people have been hired nationally to handle the claims.

And that extra manpower is very badly needed.

The government paperwork can be time-consuming, with a dozen different dorms that need to be filled out.