Friday, September 24, 2010

DOT: Vehicle Miles driven increase slightly in July

by Bill McBride on 9/24/2010 03:23:00 PM

The Department of Transportation (DOT) reported that vehicle miles driven in June were up 0.8% compared to July 2009:

Travel on all roads and streets changed by 0.8% (2.2 billion vehicle miles) for July 2010 as compared with July 2009.

Cumulative Travel for 2010 changed by 0.2% (2.9 billion vehicle miles).
Vehicle MilesClick 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 1.8% below the peak in 2007.

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 - but we also haven't seen a strong increase.

Early next year this will be the longest period with the rolling 12-months miles driven below the previous peak since the DOT started tracking this series. The current longest slump followed the 1979 oil crisis and lasted for 40 months (starting in 1979 and lasting through the recession of the early '80s).

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