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A Farewell to Clunkers

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A Kelley Blue Book survey gives reason to suspect it'll take more than a "cash-for-clunkers" program to revive the woebegone auto industry. In polling fielded last month, 36 percent of people in the market for a new vehicle said they were aware of the proposal, in which the U.S. government would offer vouchers to help consumers replace their aging gas-guzzlers with new, fuel-efficient models.

Just 13 percent said they'd be "highly motivated" to buy a new vehicle sooner than they otherwise planned. Another 26 percent said they'd want to learn more about the program. If gas prices keep rising steeply, though -- the cost of a gallon is about a dollar higher now than it was at its recent low last fall -- owners of clunkers might feel more urgency about replacing them.