Cash For Clunkers Starts Monday...So Go Buy A Used Car*

chrysler sebring

The government’s gift to automakers, Cash for Clunkers, officially kicks off today Monday, as ABC News (via Drudge) helpfully reminds us.

To celebrate the event, Chrysler is offering a matching rebate to customers. If you trade in your old heap of junk to get a sterling new Chrysler, then you could get a $9,000 discount. Not too shabby.

You could do much better, though, if you just forego the new car altogether, and pick up a used car, says ABC:

From a strictly consumer standpoint, some experts contend the Cash for Clunkers program is not a great deal. Yes, if you are bent on buying brand new, you will save money. But the savings are nothing compared with how well you can do by buying a used car.

New cars typically depreciate 20 to 30 per cent in just the first year, according to the auto Web site Edmunds.com. By year three, their value is down an average of 45 per cent!

Edmunds says the average sale price of a brand new car is $27,800, whereas the average price of a used car is $13,900. That’s a savings of roughly $14,000 achieved simply by letting somebody else be the chump who buys the brand new vehicle!

Still want to be green? There are plenty of 3-year-old vehicles with excellent fuel economy. The technology hasn’t changed much in the past few years. It’s also a great time to buy used because cars and trucks are incredibly reliable these days. They can easily chug along for 200,000 miles with few problems.

So, you decide. Would you rather save $4,000? Or $14,000?

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