September 25, 2015 / 4:10 PM / 2 years ago

U.S. drivers logged record miles in July

Cars cause streaks of lights as they drive past a red light camera in downtown Chicago, Illinois, February 9, 2015.Jim Young

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. motorists logged a record 283.7 billion miles on U.S. roadways in July, the most ever for the busy summer month and up 4.2 percent from a year earlier, according to government data released on Friday.

July marked the 17th consecutive year-over-year increase and the largest for the month since 1992, according to U.S. Department of Transportation data.

The figures illustrate how the slump in oil prices has triggered a bigger-than-expected revival in U.S. gasoline demand, fueling robust refinery profit margins and helping prevent an even larger global crude glut from developing.

The average pump price in July was $2.88 per gallon, down significantly from $3.68 a year earlier.

Miles driven were up 3.6 percent year to date, the data shows.

U.S. gasoline demand in the first six months of the year rose by 3 percent from 2014 to nearly 9 million barrels per day, according to Energy Information Administration data. U.S. gasoline use accounts for about a tenth of global crude demand.

The DOT traffic data has become an important early gauge of underlying consumer gasoline demand because it is released before the monthly EIA oil consumption figures.

Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by James Dalgleish and Lisa Von Ahn

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