Uncle Sam has a real deal for you

Has Uncle Sam got a deal for you! He’ll give you up to $4,500 toward a new car simply for trading in that hoopdie you’ve been driving for too long. Yes, the dealers at the House Energy Committee have reached agreement on — about the only thing they’ve reached agreement on — a "Cash for Clunkers" program.

And you’ll be able to hightail it down to the showroom just as soon as they’ve ironed out a few pesky details in a massive energy and global-warming bill and if they can get the full House and the Senate to go along.

Here’s the deal. Your clunker has to get less than 18 mpg. If you trade it in on a new car — imported or domestic, it doesn’t matter — that gets at least 4 mpg more than what you’re driving now, you get a voucher for $3,500. If the mileage is at least 10 mpg better, you get $4,500 toward your new wheels.

Similar deals will be available for light trucks, pickup trucks and even big ol’ pre-2002 work trucks.

The trade-ins will be scrapped because it wouldn’t make much sense to turn around and put your polluting gas guzzler back on the road, would it? The idea is cleaner air, less gas consumption, a shot in the arm for the auto industry and an image upgrade for yourself — all for the modest cost to taxpayers of $3.5 billion to $4.5 billion.

Once this bill passes, act fast. The deal is limited to the first 1 million customers. And this offer may not come around again, but it could. Now that Uncle Sam owns a couple of car companies, the auto business seems to have gotten into his blood. He’s ready to deal!