By on May 21, 2015

Seattle Circa November 2010

Thanks to low fuel prices, American motorists drove a record 720.1 billion miles during the first quarter of 2015.

The new record, reported by the United States Department of Transportation, moves ahead of the previous milestone in 2006, when 705.7 billion miles were driven over the period, and doubles the Q1 1982 figure of 345.5 billion miles, The Detroit News writes.

In month-to-month figures, Americans drove 3.9 percent more in this March than they had in March 2014, netting 261.7 billion miles for the month since record collections began 79 years ago; March 2015 also marks the 13th consecutive month of an increase in miles driven.

Overall, the United States saw 3.02 trillion miles driven in 2014, the highest amount recorded since 2007. The increases are helped by lower fuel prices, currently standing at a national average of $2.731 as of this writing. At the current rate, Americans will surpass the 2007 peak of 3.03 trillion miles driven.

[Photo credit: Wonderlane/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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15 Comments on “American Motorists On Pace To Break 2007 Miles-Driven Record...”

  • avatar

    I’ve had my car since about 11/1/13 – and I’ve put nearly 6,000 miles on it in that time. Going in for my second oil change next week. LOL.

  • avatar

    Yeah, I seem to be on the decline too. Just moved to Chicago and my commute is 10 miles a day….round trip. Between our three cars, that isn’t much.

    I moved here from DC and used the metro there. I think I was averaging about 5k per year. You know you’re not driving much when you don’t pay attention to the price of gas anymore.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t even look. It really doesn’t matter anyway – you pay when it’s time to buy. That’s once per month for me. I just make sure I don’t do it on a weekend, save a few cents.

  • avatar

    My handy abacus shows an avg of 3412 miles per licensed driver in the US.
    720 b miles with 211 m licensed drivers (2012 stats)
    Heck, I drive to a train station daily and put on about 30 per week max.

  • avatar

    “Thanks to low fuel prices…”

    And population growth. (Notice this is TOTAL miles driven, not miles per person.)

    And the resulting sprawl.

    And the long-term decline in living standards that’s discouraging airline vacations.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    People found new roads. (TM)

  • avatar

    Out here in the Silicon Valley the joke about figuring out where to live is to drive directly away from your work and when you have driven far enough to afford a house, that’s where you live. Unfortunately, for many people that is 50+ miles (each way) for a cool 25k commuting miles per year. In addition to the distance, traffic at rush hour (which last for 8 hours every day) can be brutal.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s what happens when a city has million dollar condos with less than 900 sq feet.

      The bay area is a nice place to visit, but I don’t understand the desire to live there.

  • avatar

    The total number of miles driven per year is comparable to the distance to Neptune, and to the distance to Pluto when it’s at its closest point to the sun. (Pluto varies from roughly 3 billion to roughly 5 billion miles from the sun.)

  • avatar

    How do they know?

    Last I checked, I’m not intentionally providing the DOT with how many miles I drive.

    • 0 avatar

      Seriously. This story is ridiculous. The numbers are suspect, and I have no idea how they decided to pin this on gas prices. Does anybody actually skip trips because the gas costs $10 more? I think people drive where they need to, and if the cost is a hardship, cutbacks happen elsewhere.

    • 0 avatar

      “Where did the FHWA get the traffic data used in TVT (Traffic Volume Trends)?”

      The TVT report is based on traffic data from the Highway Performance Monitoring System and on data submitted to the FHWA by State highway agencies throughout the entire U.S. The State highway agencies collect the data through permanent automatic traffic recorders (ATR) on public roadways.

      There is plenty of data available that make it possible for mileage estimates to be made.

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