The average mileage for new vehicles rose from 21.4 miles per gallon in June to 22.1 mpg in July. That may not sound like much, but it’s the highest mileage that researchers at the University of Michigan have seen since the Environmental Protection Agency reconfigured mileage estimates in October 2007. It’s also the biggest one-month jump.
Study co-author Michael Sivak, a professor at the university’s Transportation Research Institute, noted that the improvement came even as gas prices fell and unemployment levels shrank somewhat. Normally, those factors lead to the purchase of more gas guzzlers.
The higher mileage shows the effect of Cash for Clunkers, said Sivak, who said he expects the jump to be even bigger when August figures come out. That’s because the trade-in rebate program got going only in late July.