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Cash for Clunkers takes effect - but is it right for you?

(WKTV) - The $1 billion dollar "Cash for Clunkers" program is scheduled to start Monday.

It's supposed to encourage people to trade in their old, fuel-inefficient vehicles for ones that have better gas mileage and help support struggling U.S. automakers. If you turn in your "clunker," you could receive a credit between $3,500-$4,500 toward a new car.

Here are some of the qualifications, according to www.cars.gov

*Your vehicle must be less than 25 years old
*You can only use the purchase toward a new car (2008, 2009, 2010 models)
*Most trade-in vehicles must get 18 or less MPG; this rule could vary for very large pick-up trucks and cargo vans
*You don't need a voucher to trade in your car, the dealer will apply the discount
*The program runs through November 1, or when the funds are exhausted
*It requires the scrapping of your vehicle, and that the dealer disclose to you an estimate of the scrap value of your trade-in

But is Cash for Clunkers worth it to you?

General Manager of AAA New York, Ed Welsh, says to be careful - as many cars do not qualify for the program. Welsh says the program is more beneficial to those who already have a car they're planning to get rid of.

And if you think you're going to trade in the clunker that's been sitting in the backyard for the past few years, think again - the program is for cars that have been continually registered to be on the road for at least the past year.

Welsh says consider this - you're also adding on a car payment, you probably didn't have before.

"This program makes the most sense for households that have several vehicles or are looking to trade their oldest, or least efficient one for a new one," he said.

Welsh also said that how much you'll get in credit depends on various factors, such as how many more miles per gallon on your new purchase.

To see if your car qualifies on its fuel mileage, you can go to www.fueleconomy.gov.

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