The government released a listing of all cars traded in for the Cash for Clunkers program. I had admonished the Big Money for claiming the 240 was a Clunker. Turns out they were almost correct. According to, one particular model of one particular year has been deemed to have a fuel economy rating of 18 mpg. Huh? I’ve got to investigate…

According to the listing, there were 56 1989 Volvo 240 wagons trashed through the program. As you can see from the info I pulled below, no other year has nearly as many. As a matter of fact, I’d guess that most of the other years were dealer mistakes, because the numbers are so low.

Year Total Breakdown
1984 2 2 wagons
1985 6 3 sedans, 3 wagons
1987 2 1 sedan, 1 wagon
1988 1 1 wagon
1989 56 56 wagons
1990 1 1 wagon
1993 1 1 sedan

What’s going on in 1989? I went to the government’s site, and found that if you select the 1989 240 wagon, and select the automatic, (EGR) option, rather than auto (FFS), it pulls up an 18 MPG figure. As far as I can tell, no other 240 pulls this number, including the 1990 model with same options.


The EGR that’s mentioned is Exhaust Gas Recirculation, which doesn’t seem to have been available on 240s before 1989. I’m not sure if this is for the DL or the GL. But I doubt any 240s get that bad combined gas mileage.

They get their numbers from, and there they have a model listed at 16 city city/22 highway for a combined 18 MPG. How they got this number for this particular model of this particular year, I have no idea. I think it’s a mistake.

This must be what FFS stands for.

UPDATE: I posted my confusion on the Brickboard and got some clarification within a few hours. Turns out the EGR was implemented to reduce emissions and in 1989 was probably only needed in California. However, adding this exhaust recirculation reduced gas mileage, thereby offsetting the emissions gain! Sounds like a Zero dumb gain.

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