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Monday, August 27, 2012

DOT: Vehicle Miles Driven increased 0.4% in June

by Calculated Risk on 8/27/2012 04:49:00 PM

The Department of Transportation (DOT) reported today:

Travel on all roads and streets changed by 0.4% (1.1 billion vehicle miles) for June 2012 as compared with June 2011. Travel for the month is estimated to be 257.6 billion vehicle miles.

Cumulative Travel for 2012 changed by 1.1% (15.6 billion vehicle miles).
The following graph shows the rolling 12 month total vehicle miles driven.

The rolling 12 month total is still mostly moving sideways.

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.

Currently miles driven has been below the previous peak for 55 months - and still counting.

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

Vehicle Miles Driven YoY Gasoline prices peaked in April at close to $4.00 per gallon, and then started falling.

Gasoline prices were down in June to an average of $3.60 per gallon according to the EIA. Last year, prices in June averaged $3.74 per gallon, so it makes sense that miles driven are up year-over-year in June.

Just looking at gasoline prices suggest miles driven will be up in July too, but then decline year-over-year in August with the recent increase in prices.

However, as I've mentioned before, gasoline prices are just part of the story. The lack of growth in miles driven over the last 4+ years is probably also due to the lingering effects of the great recession (high unemployment rate and lack of wage growth), the aging of the overall population (over 50 drivers drive fewer miles) and changing driving habits of young drivers. With all these factors, it may be years before we see a new peak in miles driven.