If you happen to have a vehicle that's worth less than $3500 and are interested in purchasing a new vehicle, then the current Cash For Clunkers legislation may help you out. Provided it passes out of Congress and is signed by President Obama.
Assuming that it passes, when you visit a dealership to purchase a new, fuel-efficient vehicle, you'll benefit from the program if your extant vehicles is nearly worthless and gets lousy mileage ... the worse the better. If the new vehicle you purchase gets just four mpg better combined mileage (only two if your purchase a light-duty truck), the check from the Feds would be $3500. If the mileage improvement is ten mpg better (only four if your purchase a light-duty truck), the check goes up a grand.
Vehicles also need to be 1984 or newer to qualify, and have a fuel-economy average of 18 mpg or below.
The wonks at Consumer Reports looked at their huge amount of data and came up with a table of vehicles that lists the best cars to junk. Thankfully, there aren't a lot of cars on the list that we'd mind see go to the crusher. (The current legislation requires that new-car dealers insure that all vehicles that are turned in for Federal vouchers get crushed. The details on this process should be interesting.)
Consumer Reports picked these as their top five:
The trio of Cadillacs share a common V-8. The XJ6 used Jag's classic in-line six, an engine known for more for its smoothness and silky power delivery than its efficiency. The Continental sucks its fuel through a 4.6-liter V-8, an early iteration of the V-8 still in production today. Other cars on the list are likewise unspectacular and will not be missed.
While the legislation hasn't passed yet, it's never too early to start thinking about that new 2011 Chevrolet Volt in your driveway (check out our overview by clicking on the link).