Motoramic

August 7: Cash for Clunkers gets an emergency $2 billion on this date in 2009

Justin Hyde
Motoramic

It was only five years ago that President Barack Obama signed an emergency bill on this date to add $2 billion to the Cash for Clunkers program, a government incentive to trade in gas guzzlers for new, more efficient models with rebates up to $4,500. Federal planners had expected the program's original $1 billion budget to last at least five months, but auto dealers sold 250,000 cars in one month. The additional $2 billion only lasted three weeks. Under the rules of the program, the cars that were traded in had to be permanently disabled with "liquid glass" — a compound poured into the engine that caused it to seize and lock within minutes. At the time, the Clunkers program was wildly popular with dealers and shoppers; today, it's videos like this of a '87 Ford Mustang GT breathing its last that many people still recall:

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