Maximum cash for clunkers

Vehicles like these will help SUV and truck owners get the biggest bang for their trade-ins.

1 of 6
BACKNEXT
More for SUV owners
More for SUV owners
The "cash for clunkers" bill just passed by Congress won't do much for car owners who want to trade in for a more fuel efficient model. If you own an SUV, though, you could stand to gain.

The reason this rule won't help car buyers is that most cars, even older ones, aren't inefficient enough to qualify as "clunkers." The ones that do, meaning they get 18 mpg or less in combined city and highway driving, are mostly large luxury models that are probably worth more than the $4,500 credit for scrapping them.

The good news is that there have been big fuel economy gains in the SUV market. Even if SUV buyers just buy more SUVs, lots of gas will be saved.

Michael Robinet, head of vehicle forecasting for industry consultants CSM Worldwide, thinks the rules should be even less restrictive to allow more Americans to partake.

"There needs to be a cut-off before a certain model year," said Robinet.

Anything older than that cut-off should qualify regardless of fuel economy. Over the course of a decade or more, Robinet pointed out, cars have improved enough - and old ones have decayed enough - that there are environmental benefits even if the fuel economy's no better. And the economy will benefit from more new car sales.


NEXT: Subaru Forester for GMC Jimmy
Last updated June 24 2009: 9:21 AM ET
Email | Print | Share  |  RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
Find Your Next Car
More Galleries
2015 Mustang's asphalt-peeling power goes modern The new Ford Mustang has been upgraded and updated to compete globally - but never fear, it's still a monster. More
15 top executives with $1 salaries Some CEOs and founders agree to salaries of just $1 a year. But once goodies like bonuses and stock options are added in, some of those executives end up taking home many millions of dollars a year. More
Mercedes SL65 AMG: 621 horses of topless power Turn heads as you blow by traffic in this roadster convertible from Mercedes. More

Special Offer
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.