EPA Changes MPG Ratings, Your Clunker May Not Qualify Now

Saturday, one of our readers left a comment on our CARS story that we found pretty interesting.

Here’s Mike’s comment:

“I researched the MPG of my Mom’s current 1993 Nissan Quest on two weeks ago, it had a combined MPG of 17. I was looking for a small SUV or minivan with a combined MPG of at least 22 to ensure she got the full $4,500 credit. We decided on the Kia Sportage 4 cylinder FWD. Today we went to the Kia dealership to close the deal and discovered A) CARS didn’t kick in yesterday as planned, it won’t until Monday the 27th; B) the MPG rating for my Mom’s 1993 Nissan Quest CHANGED in the past two weeks from 17 to 18, meaning the Kia will no longer qualify for the full $4,500 rebate!!! HOW and WHY did the stats on a 16 year old vehicle change in the past two weeks?!?!? :(“

Well, just as we guessed, the EPA changed the mileage as of Friday, July 24. actually confirmed with the EPA that they “refreshed” the combined mileage ratings. This essentially will make some buyers ineligible, since some of the ratings have now gone up and no longer qualify.

“It’s unfortunate that consumers who had been researching and planning to trade-in their vehicle with the new Cash for Clunkers program are now left in the dust,” said Karl Brauer, editor in chief at

This is exactly what will happen to buyers who originally would have qualified and now don’t. Some of these clunkers are only worth a few hundred dollars, so these consumers are really losing out. said in a statement it is currently reviewing more than 32,000 vehicles that may be effected by the changes.

So if you plan on using the CARS rebate to buy a new car, definitely recheck your clunker’s EPA rated mileage here to make sure it hasn’t changed.

wrecked Toyota Corolla
Now that the EPA has "refreshed" some of its MPG ratings, your clunker may no longer qualify for the CARS rebate.