Tuesday, May 27, 2008

As Gas Prices Soar, Americans Driving Less

high gas pricesHigh gas prices are changing driving habits.

American drove less miles in March 2008 according to estimates released from the Federal Highway Administration.

The FHWA’s “Traffic Volume Trends” report, produced monthly since 1942, shows that estimated vehicle miles traveled (VMT) on all U.S. public roads for March 2008 fell 4.3 percent as compared with March 2007 travel.

This is the first time estimated March travel on public roads fell since 1979. At 11 billion miles less in March 2008 than in the previous March, this is the sharpest yearly drop for any month in FHWA history.

Though February 2008 showed a modest 1 billion mile increase over February 2007, cumulative VMT has fallen by 17.3 billion miles since November 2006. Total VMT in the United States for 2006, the most recent year for which such data are available, topped 3 trillion miles.

Fueling this change was the average price of gasoline which jumped nearly 15 cents this week to $3.937 per gallon. This is up nearly 73 cents a gallon from a year ago at this same time.

Diesel prices also climbed higher, rising nearly 23 cents to $4.723 a gallon. This is up $1.906 a gallon from a year ago at this same time.

Despite driving less miles, many expect prices to remain high as crude oil prices continue to climb higher.

Source: US Department of Transportation, US Department of Energy

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