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Cash for Clunkers to end Monday

From NBC's Tom Costello and Domenico Montanaro
The Department of Transportation's "Cash for Clunkers" program will end Monday, DOT announced this afternoon.

"This program has been a lifeline to the automobile industry, jump starting a major sector of the economy and putting people back to work," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a released statement. "At the same time, we've been able to take old, polluting cars off the road and help consumers purchase fuel efficient vehicles."

The DOT credits the program with 457,000 "dealer transactions worth $1.9 billion in rebates."

LaHood reiterated the CARS program has been "the best economic news story in America."

DOT also claims, "Most consumers have turned in trucks and SUV's in exchange for passenger cars, with an improved gas mileage of about 60 percent."

DOT also emphasizes that there's enough money to reimburse every dealer.

"Based on conservative estimates of valid transactions so far, DOT analysts have projected that there is enough money to continue accepting submissions until the Monday deadline," according to its release.

Monday at 8:00 pm ET is the drop deadline for dealers to submit applications for the $4,500 rebates.