The U.S. government's Cash for Clunkers program has boosted the U.S. auto sales to the highest level of 2009 in July, which is surprising success to both car dealers and the government.

The $1 billion in initial funding has led to the sale of 250,000 new vehicles in seven days, and the U.S. House of Representatives last Friday approved an additional $2 billion in funding for the program, officially called the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS).

The program has worked better than anyone anticipated, said Ryan Winkle of H&K Chevrolet Buick Pontiac in Continental, as cited in crescent news. It's going to increase work at factories.

The additional funds were approved 316-109 in the House, but the program will likely be suspended this week without Senate approval.

I hope they put more dollars in the pot, Crescent news quoted Jim Stevens, sales manager of Snyder Chevrolet and Snyder Pontiac Buick Cadillac GMC in Napoleon as saying. It's definitely increased our traffic and sales.

The U.S. government-incentive program offered consumers taxpayer-funded rebates of up to $4,500 to swap out of clunkers, less fuel-efficient cars. The old vehicle (vehicles can be foreign or domestic) must have been owned, registered and insured for the last year. The new vehicle can be leased, provided the lease period is at least five years.

Cash for Clunkers has even increased our traffic from people who don't qualify for the program, said Jim Schmidt of Jim Schmidt Ford and Jim Schmidt Chevrolet-Pontiac-Buick in Hicksville, according to Crescent news. There's a strong demand for used vehicles, too.

The major problem that the dealers have is the low inventory.

Like everyone else, our inventory of new cars is low, said Defiance auto dealer Wes Moats. But even Honda and Toyota have cut production. We expect to get more vehicles in, but it's still going to be tough to keep up on customer demand. If they approve another $2 billion, it may only last another two or three weeks.