U.S. drivers traveled more miles last year than ever before — 3.1 trillion miles. The average number of miles driven by a single driver is 13,476, a total nearly equal to two round trips between New York and Los Angeles.
Travel is rising in every region of the country with drivers in the West showing the biggest gain (4.2%) for a monthly total of about 65 billion miles, or more than 20% of the national total miles driven in July. Of the states, nearly 70% posted a gain in miles driven in July compared with miles driven in July of 2015.
Using data gathered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), researchers at carinsurance.com have surfaced some trends:
- Men drive more miles than women, an average of 16,550 to 10,142, respectively.
- Fewer teenagers are getting driver’s licenses — only 24% of eligible 16-year olds this year compared with 46% in 1980.
- Drivers older than 65 are driving more and the subgroup growing fastest are drivers older than 85.
The carinsurance.com researchers also pointed out how mileage affects insurance rates:
The uptick in driving is not spread evenly among the states. Some states are seeing a much bigger increase than others and almost a third are in decline. The mileage you drive affects your insurance rates, because companies figure the more you drive, the higher your risk of being in an accident. Therefore, state car insurance rates may be generally affected by these trends.
Oregon posted the largest year-over-year gain in vehicle miles traveled, up 19%. Alaska and Georgia both posted increases of 16%, with Texas jumping 14%, and West Virginia 12%.
The largest year-over-year decline in miles traveled occurred in North Dakota, where the total fell by 16%. Louisiana’s total fell by 10% and both Montana and Alabama saw miles drop by 6%.