Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), known as the “Cash for Clunkers” program, will come to a close on the evening of Monday, August 24, 2009.

“This program has been a lifeline to the automobile industry, jump-starting a major sector of the economy and putting people back to work,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “At the same time, we’ve been able to take old, polluting cars off the road and help consumers purchase fuel-efficient vehicles.”

As of August 20, the program recorded more than 457,000 dealer transactions, worth US$1.9 billion in rebates. The program also resulted in depleted inventory, with both Ford and General Motors ramping up production, adding shifts, and rehiring laid-off workers.

The program provided rebates of up to $4,500 when consumers traded in older vehicles for recycling and bought more fuel-efficient vehicles. Most turned in trucks and SUVs in exchange for passenger cars, LaHood said, with an improved gas mileage of about 60 per cent.

LaHood said the Monday night end date will allow dealers and buyers time to finalize purchases and submit applications for rebate from the remainder of the $3 billion provided to the program by Congress. The Department of Transportation projects that there is enough money to continue accepting submissions until the Monday deadline. The program was introduced with notice that it would be withdrawn when funding ran out, but the government injected an additional $3 billion into it for an extension.

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