Whether they’ve switched to car pools, public transportation, or maybe just walking, Americans drove 15.5 billion fewer miles in the first six months of 2011 than the first half of 2010. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Americans drove 3.8 billion fewer miles in June 2011 versus a year prior.
That puts the nation’s year-to-date total at 1,452.7 billion vehicle miles of travel. In the month of June, that number was 259.1 billion vehicle miles. The DOT numbers are collected by compiling hourly traffic volume data from 4000 locations across the country.
The numbers also reveal that vehicle travel was down year-over-year in April, May, and June 2011. In fact, that last time that Americans drove so few miles in the first half of the year was 2004, when we covered 1,450 billion miles.
The DOT’s report doesn’t give any reasons for the drastic drop in vehicle-miles traveled. The Detroit News posits that high fuel prices might have discouraged some people from driving as far. Other hypotheses include the idea that with greater unemployment, fewer Americans are driving to work each day.
What might explain the drop-off in driving? Have you been driving less in recent months, and why? Have you say in the comments section below.
Sources: Department of Transportation, The Detroit News