'Cash for clunkers' program to end Monday

The Obama administration on Monday evening will wind down the $3 billion "cash for clunkers" program to support the auto industry.

The program, managed by the Transportation Department, has seen $1.9 billion worth of rebate applications submitted from car dealers across the country, said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

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After a dramatic show of interest in the program, Congress raced before the August recess to add $2 billion to the original $1 billion.

"What we've seen is an overwhelming and overnight success, so much so that we've reached the point at which we need to wind this program down," a senior administration official told reporters on Thursday.

The program provides up to a $4,500 rebate for consumers trading in older vehicles for newer, more fuel-efficient cars.

"Right now we are focused on winding down the program in an orderly way and providing a soft landing and in getting the applications processed," the administration official said.

When it was first debated in Congress, supporters had called for a $4 billion program but it was scaled back.

The administration said on Thursday that it does not have plans to seek more money for the program from Congress.

"There is no plan to seek additional funding to have an additional extension," the administration official said.

The government is working through applications submitted by dealers, and had paid out $145 million by Thursday evening.