For the fifth consecutive year, Americans drove more miles on the roadways than the previous year. The latest data from the Federal Highway Administration shows that driving in the United States in 2016 reached a record-high 3.2 trillion miles.
December’s driving numbers just recently came out and reveals that more than 263.6 billion miles were driven during that month alone, a 0.5 percent increase from December 2015.
Seasonally adjusted data, which is a way to even out seasonal variation in travel and enable vehicle miles traveled (VMT) comparisons with any other month in any year, shows VMT in December was 269.3 billion miles, a decrease of 0.6 percent from the previous month and a 0.6 increase from December 2015.
Year-to-year, travel went up in three of five regions in December, with the North Central and Northeast regions suffering the only losses. The West region – which includes California, Hawaii, Alaska and 10 other states – experienced the largest increase at 2.9 percent. California accounted for more miles (33.9 billion VMT) than 22 states combined.
North Dakota had the largest unadjusted decrease at 6.2 percent, marking the tenth consecutive month the Peace Garden State experienced the largest drop in traveling.
As pointed out in FHWA’s press release, the steady increase in VMT over the past several years highlights the need to address the nation’s infrastructure. Part of President Trump’s platform during the election was a $1 trillion infrastructure plan.