Americans Drove 15.5 Billion Fewer Miles in First Half of 2011

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Does your morning commute seem a little quieter?  Maybe there is a new trend Penske Automotive Group didn’t about:  car pools, public transportation, biking or walking to get from place to place. It was just reported that for the first half of 2011 Americans drove 15.5 billion fewer miles than the first half of 2010. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Americans drove 3.8 billion fewer miles in June 2011 versus a year prior.

That means from Jan. 1 to June 30 American’s drove 1,452.7 billion miles in their cars. In the month of June, that number was 259.1 billion vehicle miles.  Department of Transportation collects this numbers month to month after reviewing and compiling hourly traffic volume data from 4000 locations across the country.

The numbers also indicate that vehicle travel was down year-over-year in April, May, and June 2011. In fact, that last time that Americans drove so few miles in the first half of the year was 2004, when we covered 1,450 billion miles. Also, in June traffic was down 1.6 percent resulting in 8.6 billion miles traveled. Furthermore, Americans drove 3 trillion miles in 2010 meaning a growth of 0.6 percent or 1.4 billion miles more than 2009.

The DOT’s report doesn’t give any reasons for the drastic drop in vehicle-miles traveled. Penske Automotive Group guesses it may be a result of high gas prices, economy and increasing unemployment rate.

What do you think about the empty roads? Have you been driving less in recent months, and why?

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