Thursday, November 19, 2015

DOT: Vehicle Miles Driven increased 2.3% year-over-year in August, Rolling 12 Months at All Time High

by Bill McBride on 11/19/2015 04:13:00 PM

The Department of Transportation (DOT) reported:

Travel on all roads and streets changed by 2.3% (6.3 billion vehicle miles) for August 2015 as compared with August 2014.

Travel for the month is estimated to be 277.3 billion vehicle miles.

◦The seasonally adjusted vehicle miles traveled for August 2015 is 263.3 billion miles, a 3.6% (9.1 billion vehicle miles) increase over August 2014. It also represents a -0.4% change (-1.2 billion vehicle miles) compared with July 2015.
The following graph shows the rolling 12 month total vehicle miles driven to remove the seasonal factors.

The rolling 12 month total is moving up - mostly due to lower gasoline prices - after moving sideways for several years.


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.

Miles driven (rolling 12) had been below the previous peak for 85 months - an all time record - before reaching a new high for miles driven in January.

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

Vehicle Miles Driven YoY In August 2015, gasoline averaged of $2.73 per gallon according to the EIA.  That was down significantly from August 2014 when prices averaged $3.57 per gallon.

Gasoline prices aren't the only factor - demographics is also key. However, with lower gasoline prices, miles driven - on a rolling 12 month basis - is setting new highs each month.