Americans Drove a Record Number of Miles Last Year

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That's 3.2 trillion miles on the road, based on new U.S. DOT estimates.

Drivers travelled a record number of miles on U.S. roads last year, according to new federal data.

The Department of Transportation on Friday released estimates showing that vehicle-miles traveled on public roads in the U.S. during 2018 totaled 3.2 trillion, the highest level on record.

Last year's figure marked a 12.2 billion mile increase over the previous year and the fifth consecutive year that vehicle-miles travelled in the nation topped 3 trillion.

(Click to expand the chart in a new window.)

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao credited a strong economy and low gas prices for the high level of driving. The DOT estimates released this week include passenger vehicle, bus and truck travel.

An analysis of federal survey data last year by the State Smart Transportation Initiative found that driving among millennials, who are 26 to 33 years old, declined at the height of the Great Recession in 2009, but then increased in 2017.

But the group also says younger people are generally driving less compared to the overall population, as older people are driving more.

The analysis also found that while millennials with the lowest incomes were contributing the post-recession uptick in driving, among those with the highest incomes in that age group driving was down.

Bill Lucia is a Senior Reporter for Route Fifty and is based in Olympia, Washington.

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