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By Damian Joseph and Tania Chen
Finally, a handout for car buyers, not just carmakers. The government's Cash for Clunkers program is aimed at modernizing the aging U.S. fleet of vehicles and take off the road cars and trucks that are not very safe, pollute heavily, and burn tons of gas. It's also a good way to give sluggish auto sales a kick in the pants. To qualify for a $3,500 voucher, owners have to trade in a vehicle they've owned for at least a year that is less than 25 years old and gets under 18 miles per gallon on average. Their new car must get more than 22 mpg and cost less than $45,000. For a $4,500 voucher, the new vehicle must get 10 mpg more than the original. Autobytel (ABTL), an Irvine (Calif.) automotive media and marketing company, came up with this ranking of brands offering the most eligible vehicles. Not only does the list provide a snapshot of carmaker priorities, it gives consumers a handy starting point for shopping.