Thursday, July 22, 2010

DOT: Miles Driven increase slightly in May

by Bill McBride on 7/22/2010 03:27:00 PM

Note: on Existing Home sales, please see:Existing Home Sales decline in June and Existing Home Inventory increases 4.7% Year-over-Year

The Department of Transportation (DOT) reported that vehicle miles driven in May were up just 0.1% compared to May 2009:

Travel on all roads and streets changed by +0.1% (0.3 billion vehicle miles) for May 2010 as compared with May 2009.
...
Cumulative Travel for 2010 changed by -0.1% (-1.6 billion vehicle miles).
Vehicle Miles YoYClick on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows the rolling 12 month total vehicle miles driven.

On a rolling 12 month basis, vehicle miles driven are mostly moving sideways. Miles driven are still 2.0% below the peak - and only 0.6% above the recent low.

Back in 2008, vehicle miles turned strongly negative on a "month over the same month of the prior year" basis, and that was one of the pieces of data that helped me correctly predict oil prices would decline sharply in the 2nd half of 2008. So far we haven't seen a sharp decline in vehicle miles - and also not a strong increase.