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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

DOT: Vehicle Miles Driven decreased 0.3% in July

by Calculated Risk on 9/25/2012 05:54:00 PM

The Department of Transportation (DOT) reported today:

Travel on all roads and streets changed by -0.3% (-0.8 billion vehicle miles) for July 2012 as compared with July 2011. Travel for the month is estimated to be 258.3 billion vehicle miles.

Cumulative Travel for 2012 changed by +0.9% (14.8 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 56 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 July to an average of $3.50 per gallon according to the EIA. Last year, prices in July averaged $3.70 per gallon - and even with the decline in gasoline prices, miles driven declined year-over-year in July.

Just looking at gasoline prices suggest miles driven will be down in August too.

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 55 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.

Earlier on house prices:
Case-Shiller: House Prices increased 1.2% year-over-year in July
House Price Comments, Real House Prices, Price-to-Rent Ratio