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DOT: Vehicle Miles Driven increased 0.2% year-over-year in March

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The Department of Transportation (DOT) reported:

Travel on all roads and streets changed by 0.2% (0.5 billion vehicle miles) for March 2014 as compared with March 2013.

Travel for the month is estimated to be 249.1 billion vehicle miles.

Cumulative Travel for 2014 changed by -0.6% (-4.2 billion vehicle miles).

The following graph shows the rolling 12 month total vehicle miles driven.

The rolling 12 month total is still mostly moving sideways …

Vehicle Miles Click on graph for larger image.

In the early ’80s, miles driven (rolling 12 months) stayed below the previous peak for 39 months.

Currently miles driven has been below the previous peak for 76 months – 6+ years – and still counting.  Currently miles driven (rolling 12 months) are about 2.5% below the previous peak.

The second graph shows the year-over-year change from the same month in the previous year.

Vehicle Miles Driven YoY In March 2014, gasoline averaged of .61 per gallon according to the EIA.  That was down from March 2013 when prices averaged .78 per gallon. Note: In April, gasoline prices were higher in 2014 than in 2013 – and miles driven might be down again for April.

Of course gasoline prices are just part of the story.  The lack of growth in miles driven over the last 6+ years is probably also due to the lingering effects of the great recession (high unemployment rate and lack of wage growth), the aging of the overall population (over 55 drivers drive fewer miles) and changing driving habits of young drivers.

With all these factors, it might take a few more years before we see a new peak in miles driven.
Calculated Risk

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