Curbed: In a Country of More, Americans Doing Less, Including Driving

By Matthew Askari | August 26, 2011
These days Americans are doing less of a lot of things; with high unemployment we're working less, we're going to fewer sporting events, and as what should come as little surprise to anyone, we're driving less. In a newly released report by the Federal Highway Administration, Americans are driving 1.1 percent less through the first half of 2011 than the previous year. In fact you have to go back to 2004 to find a time we totaled fewer miles. The numbers themselves are still staggering: 1.453 trillion miles driven the first 6 months of 2011. To get a better picture that's 1,453,000,000,000 miles. It's also more than 15 billion miles less than 2010. Pricey gas fill-ups are also curbing extended road trips. The ripple effect may mean motorists are holding on to their cars longer, which will affect new car sales, which can affect jobs, so forth.
The FHA collected the data based on traffic analysis at over 4,000 monitoring stations. We'll be interested to see how those numbers change based on gas prices and unemployment in the future.