Cash for Clunkers banner with Mercury Sable, Albany, New York
Drivers in California and Washington, D.C. realized the most benefit from last summer's Cash-for-Clunkers program, using federal incentives to purchase vehicles that averaged 10.4 miles per gallon better than their old ones. At the other end of the scale, folks in Louisiana saw the least improvement, upgrading by about 7.9 MPGs; Michigan took the 49th spot, at 8.27 MPGs.
Much has been made of buyers in states like Michigan, linking their lower Cash-for-Clunkers results to their tendency to stick with Big Three vehicles. We'd respond by saying that plenty of Detroit autos get great fuel economy -- and we'd add that even a 7.9 MPG improvement is nothing to sneeze at.