The recently unveiled Cash for Clunkers program provides consumers with a great way to get savings on a newer, more fuel-efficient vehicle. Depending on the car traded in, and the gas mileage improvement of the new vehicle, customers can get a $3,500 to $4,500 savings voucher applied to their lease or purchase. The overall plan here is to get rid of cars that have poor fuel efficiency and aren't environmentally friendly. Also, the government is looking to stimulate consumers to spend more on new vehicles, in turn boosting sales for struggling automobile dealerships. Many auto manufacturers are also adding in their own savings bonuses which can be applied with the clunkers discount. So this new program may be a great way for you to purchase or lease a brand new more efficient vehicle at a nice reduced price. However, it's important to note there are some important Cash for Clunkers rules to follow before you rush over to the dealership to trade in your "clunker".

First and foremost, your car cannot be older than 25 years of age, and it must be drivable. While technically it may be a 35 year old rusty, worn down, clunker in every sense of the word, it will not qualify for a savings voucher, and wouldn't make it into the dealership without a tow. Second, your used clunker car must get 18 miles per gallon or less for its fuel efficiency. This is important, because the new vehicle you get must improve on that number. If you purchase or lease a new vehicle that has a better fuel efficiency by 4-9 miles per gallon, you'll qualify for a $3,500 savings voucher. If you purchase or lease a new vehicle that improves fuel efficiency by 10 miles per gallon or more, you'll receive the maximum savings voucher of $4,500 from the Cash for Clunkers program.

Another one of the Cash for Clunkers rules that is extremely important is that your clunker car must be registered and insured in your name for at least 1 year prior to the trade in date. If it is not, you will not qualify for Cash for clunkers program. Also, your title must have no liens or other issues against it. If the title has these issues, make sure to clear these up as soon as possible. You'll want proof of these things when you arrive to the dealer with your clunker car, so make sure to make copies and bring originals of the insurance, title and registration if you can. It's better to be prepared so you can finalize your new purchase or lease.

Keep in mind this great savings voucher plan applies only towards a clunker traded in for a new vehicle at the dealership, so you won't be able to go with a cheaper used vehicle. Also, if you choose to lease the new vehicle, you'll need to do a 5 year lease under the program's requirements. Once you've got all your requirements in check, and have finalized the deal at the car dealership, your savings voucher should be sent to the dealer within 10 days after the paperwork has been submitted from the dealer. You'll be enjoying a great new car, better fuel efficiency and the good feeling of saving a nice chunk of money!