Americans Driving Less, Says Federal Highway Administration
May 28, 2008
Americans have been driving less and less since November 2007, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and vehicle miles traveled on all U.S. public roads fell by 4.3% in March compared to a year ago. That marks the first time that U.S. travel has fallen in March since 1979, and it also stands as the sharpest yearly drop for any month in the history of the FHWA. The agency estimates that cumulative vehicle travel on U.S. public roads has fallen by 17.3 billion miles since November 2006. Vehicle travel on U.S. public roads topped 3 trillion miles in 2006 but is likely to fall short of that this year if current trends continue. That's good news for greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, which decreased by 9 million metric tons for the first quarter of this year, according to FHWA estimates. However, it's bad news for the viability of the Highway Trust Fund, which depends on revenues from the federal gasoline excise tax. See the FHWA press release and "Traffic Volume Trends" reports, and for a hint at the cause, see the latest "Fuel Gauge Report" from the American Automobile Association.