Thursday, January 22, 2009

DOT: U.S. Vehicle Miles Driven Declines Sharply

by Bill McBride on 1/22/2009 09:48:00 AM

The Dept of Transportation reports on U.S. Traffic Volume Trends:

Travel on all roads and streets changed by -5.3% (-12.9 billion vehicle miles) for November 2008 as compared with November 2007. Travel for the month is estimated to be 230.4 billion vehicle miles.

Cumulative Travel for 2008 changed by -3.7% (-102.1 billion vehicle miles). The Cumulative estimate for the year is 2,656.2 billion vehicle miles of travel.
Vehicle Miles Driven Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows the annual change in the rolling 12 month average of U.S. vehicles miles driven. Note: the rolling 12 month average is used to remove noise and seasonality.

By this measure, vehicle miles driven are off a record 3.7% Year-over-year (YoY); the decline in miles driven is worse than during the early '70s and 1979-1980 oil crisis. As the DOT noted, miles driven in November 2008 were 5.4% less than November 2007, so the YoY change in the rolling average may get worse.

So far the slowing economy is more than offsetting the sharp decline in gasoline prices last year.

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