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Pickup Trucks and the Cash for Clunkers Bill

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Both houses of Congress have agreed to the terms of the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act, also known as Cash for Clunkers, that will provide vouchers to help buy new cars or trucks in exchange for scrapping less fuel-efficient vehicles.

What does Cash for Clunkers mean for pickup truck buyers? It depends on a truck's size, fuel economy and age.

Cash for Clunkers splits trucks into three categories: light-duty trucks, large light-duty trucks and work trucks. The categories are based on the U.S. Department of Transportation's truck classification system, which is based on a truck's gross vehicle weight rating (dry curb weight plus passengers, fuel and payload).

Light-duty trucks, such as a 2000 Chevrolet S-10 compact, align with DOT Class 1 (GVWR under 6,000 pounds). Owners can qualify for a $3,500 voucher if the new light-duty truck they're buying has a combined fuel economy rating of at least 18 mpg, and if that mileage is at least 2 mpg higher than their old truck. If the mileage of the new truck or SUV is at least 5 mpg higher, the voucher will be $4,500. The old truck has to be a 1984 model or newer.

Large light-duty trucks, such as a 2000 Ford F-150, align somewhat with DOT Class 2 (GVWR 6,000-10,000 pounds), but only up to 8,500 pounds. Owners can qualify for a $3,500 voucher if the new large light-duty truck they're buying has a combined rating of at least 15 mpg, and if that mileage is at least 1 mpg higher than their old truck. If the mileage of the new truck or SUV is at least 2 mpg higher, the voucher will be $4,500. The old truck has to be a 1984 model or newer.

Work trucks, such as a 2000 Dodge Ram 3500, also fall under DOT Class 2, but weigh between 8,500 and 10,000 pounds. Owners can qualify for a $3,500 voucher for a new work truck or trade down to a large light-duty truck from any 2001-model-year or older work truck. There's no mileage requirement on these trucks because the EPA doesn't require fuel-economy ratings on heavy-duty pickups. Work truck vouchers will be limited to only 7.5 percent of the total Cash for Clunkers funds.

All trucks have to be driveable and must have been continuously insured and registered to the same owner for at least one year.

(H/T to Jalopnik for graphic layout)

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