Clunker pickups traded for new pickups

WASHINGTON (AP) - The most common deals under the government's
$3 billion Cash for Clunkers program replaced old Ford or Chevrolet
pickups with new ones that got only marginally better gas mileage.

That's according to an analysis of new federal data by The Associated Press.

The program was aimed at putting more fuel-efficient cars on the road. But the single most common swap involved Ford 150 pickup owners who traded their old trucks for new Ford 150s. They were 17 times more likely to buy a new F150 than, say, a Toyota Prius.

The fuel economy for the new trucks ranged from 15 mpg to 17 mpg based on engine size and other factors, an improvement of just 1 mpg to 3 mpg over the clunkers.

A driver in West, Texas, earned $4,500 in July in exchange for a 1989 Chevrolet Suburban SUV that got 14 miles per gallon. He bought a 2009 Suburban that weighed 5,900 pounds and got 16 mpg. Across Texas, seven of the 10 most common transactions involved drivers trading old pickups for new ones.

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