Friday, March 25, 2016

DOT: Vehicle Miles Driven increased 2.0% year-over-year in January

by Bill McBride on 3/25/2016 01:32:00 PM

The Department of Transportation (DOT) reported today:

Travel on all roads and streets changed by 2.0% (4.8 billion vehicle miles) for January 2016 as compared with January 2015.

Travel for the month is estimated to be 240.7 billion vehicle miles.

The seasonally adjusted vehicle miles traveled for January 2016 is 264.3 billion miles, a 2.7% (7.0 billion vehicle miles) increase over January 2015. It also represents a -0.8% change (-2.1 billion vehicle miles) compared with December 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 2015.

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

Vehicle Miles Driven YoY In January 2015, gasoline averaged $2.06 per gallon according to the EIA.  That was down from January 2015 when prices averaged $2.21 per gallon.

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