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July 31, 2009
Contact: Garry Hinkley, Vehicle Services Director, BMV
Tel: 624-9055 or 215-7192

BMV Employees Respond to Citizen Calls about the “Cash for Clunkers” Program

Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicle employees are busy responding to requests from would-be car buyers under the federal government's very popular “Cash for Clunkers” program.  Implemented by the Obama Administration, the program helps consumers buy or lease a more environmentally-friendly vehicle from a participating dealer when they trade in a less fuel-efficient car or truck. The program is designed to energize the economy; boost auto sales and put safer, cleaner and more fuel-efficient vehicles on the nation's roadways.

Maine citizens are requesting copies of registration and title documents to support their new car purchases under the program; and, motor vehicle employees are working diligently to fulfill those requests.

Bureau officials noted that the Registration Unit is averaging over one hundred additional calls per day from people looking for copies of their prior year registration.

To be eligible for the Cash for Clunkers program, the purchaser must provide documentation that they owned the qualified vehicle for at least the past twelve months. Documentation may include the current vehicle title and the current registration, or registration documents for at least twelve consecutive months, plus proof the vehicle has been insured for the past twelve months. 

"Many people are opting to use the twelve consecutive months of registration as proof”, noted Garry Hinkley, Vehicle Services Division Director for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. “As a practical matter, that means showing their current registration plus the immediately preceding expired registration.  Some people did not keep or cannot find their last expired registration needed to complete the twelve month so they are calling the BMV to obtain a copy.  The Bureau maintains historic records in a microfiche system, and the research and retrieval process takes some time.  There are limits as to how many staff can work in the retrieval and printing process simultaneously,” Hinkley noted.

Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, whose department includes the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, urged potential car purchasers to try to locate their ownership documents prior to car shopping.  Dunlap noted that the Bureau is able to provide registration copies usually within 24 hours.  “However, this coming Friday, August 7 is a state government closure day, and the BMV offices will not be open for customer service.” Dunlap noted. 

State government closure days were instituted as a budget balancing measure for the 2010-2011 biennium.  State government offices including the BMV offices will be closed for twenty days over the next two years.

Copies of vehicle registrations can be obtained by calling the BMV at 624-9000 x 52149.