• Mar 4, 2011



The Department of Transportation has released data revealing that American drivers clocked over 2.9 trillion miles traveled in 2010. According to DOT, that's a .7 percent, or 20.5 billion-mile) increase over 2009, and the highest rate since 2007.

The area between Texas and Kentucky saw the biggest increase in miles traveled at 1.4 percent, with motorists travelling 46.6 billion miles in that area in 2010. The area from Delaware to Florida saw a .4 percent decrease in miles traveled, shaving 214 million miles off that locale's annual total.

Despite the increase in miles traveled, traffic fatalities in 2010 were at their lowest since 1950. We wouldn't expect the same increase in miles driven for next year, as gas prices are expected to climb to $4 a gallon over the summer, but we'll see... Americans love road trips, no?

[Source: Consumer Reports | Image: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty]



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  • 32 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      We're a country on the move! The personal and commercial vehicle really is an amazing thing. Our modern life would be impossible without them.
        • 3 Years Ago
        you still need a car in the big city. I referenced SF (the city i currently live in). I so happen to be a student and work downtown. The majority of those who live in the bay do not live downtown, nor work somewhere as I do where public transportation works, and works well at that.

        http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/business/chron200/chart

        Take a look at the top30 corporations (or for that matter, top50) located in the sf bay area. Some of them may have an office in SF, but most of their employment in the area is outside of downtown SF (where the best transit options are). These top50 corporations also combine to provide most of the employment in the area. This is true of most metros where 90% of employment is located outside of the places that receive the best transit options and services. In the bay, Silicon valley and the suburban ares east of Oakland are where most jobs are. So if you live in SF, there's a good chance you have to commute out of the city, whether it be to South SF, Oakland area and beyond, or down to San jose, and there's a good chance that your not going to pay 800k for a condo in the city just to settle for hours every day riding transit to-and-from work...

        As for hours wasted in gridlock... blame the fact that we haven't expanded our roads... our highway system was last heavily modified in the 60's. The population then was a little more then half what it is today. But all you hear is that the lack of public transit options are to blame for this? Blame the fact that so much of our highway trust fund go to funding public transit, instead of providing motorists with better roads and driving options. And with so much attention paid to green jobs, we've neglected the basics like basic transportation infrastructure, and fast trains don't count.
        • 3 Years Ago
        It should be noted that 90% of the places where Americans work are either not serviced by transit or not serviced "well" so that is why outside of NY city, no public transit system enjoy more then 10% of the market that it is in, which is why Americans are glued to their cars. Even in Transit-heaven SF bay area, the overall daily ridership is still 5% of the total traveling population. In big cities, you have finance, corporate, academic, retail, and other forms of employment that are well-served by these forms of transportations(most American's dont live in Chicago, NY, SF, etc.). Oddly enough... for all the economic output that our roads provide us, it hasn't been matched by increased funding... and public transportation continues to demand more then its fair share.

        You wouldn't have any public transportation option if it weren't for those who drive. We actually lend to this country's economic output in measurable ways while public transportation leeches off of taxpayer wallets and those who are glued to their cars.
        • 3 Years Ago
        True for most of the country, but anyone living in a major metro area (tens of millions of people), does not 'need' a car since there is already public transportation.

        Not sure where you guys live, but the big cities are choked to death by constant gridlock. It's billions of hours wasted and billions of $ in oil wasted, and its a serious threat to the economy.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Sure, Nick, but it sure beats having to slave in a field to just barely provide for my starving family while having to get permission to travel to the next town on foot or donkey carriage. You need to keep perspective and context here.
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's an interesting statistic, but I don't know how the came by those stats. My guess would be that even if their 7 tenths of a % more miles traveled is close to accurate, actual gasoline usage continued to drop due to increased fuel efficiency (which they chose not to report due to it not being compatible which the message they were expounding). Apparently fuel price last year wasn't high enough to trigger decreased demand. Also last year it became a real pain in the ass to fly. This year will be more interesting. Supply, demand, civil unrest, policies and politics, I couldn't even make a guess what is actually going to happen. If I were brave enough, I would guess most people will drive less this year (world wide). We are entering a period where fuel demand is going to become much more elastic to cost.
      • 3 Years Ago
      gas is already $4/gallon in my suburban CT town. I don't care though. I've only driven my V8 sport sedan 650 miles now since 2005. my carbon footprint is as small as it can get.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Same here. I've driven my 03' Chevy Tahoe 5.3 V8 a total of 12,000 Miles for the 4 years I've owned it. No way it splits down the middle, but lets just say it did, 3000 miles every year, that's not bad. I can thank good maintenance and upgrades, giving my SUV 18-22 MPG highway. Thank goodness I don't do city driving.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Lol. The way you said "Sports Sedan" sounds like when people in movies say to the bartender "I'll have a beer," as though there aren't many different types of beer (and yet the bartender still gives them a beer).

        Oh, and having a car that you don't put any miles on is a horrible idea. You're losing more in depreciation than if you had just decided to rent a car the five times you actually wanted to drive. Seriously, the money you've spent in depreciation is probably about 100 times your total fuel bill.
        • 3 Years Ago
        hey everybody this guy has a V8 sports sedan...admire him!!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Boy, that is one CLEAN tanker truck. :-)
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is going to be a scary summer for driving, with gas prices jumping 50 cents the last week, the summer sounds like another $5 a gallon one.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Maybe we're driving more because we hate being abused at the airports.
      • 3 Years Ago
      2.9 billion miles sounds like a lot, but it is only .04% of a light year!
        • 3 Years Ago
        Oops, I used 2.9 trillion in my calculation, works out to .04% of alight year.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Dude, that number is 3 trillion. Not 3 billion.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hyundai Santa Fe pride! Finally, it gets featured in a photo haha. Speaking of miles driven, i got my '02 up to 177K so far. I'm hoping to break through the 200K milestone soon! I love my little truck.
        • 3 Years Ago
        it's a 2002 hyundai santa fe. its the car the really brought hyundai off the ground. it's extremely reliable and surprisingly comfortable. it's great in the snow and has plenty of cargo space and pretty good pickup. Yourself?
        • 3 Years Ago
        What kind of truck do you have?
      • 3 Years Ago
      I've driven my M3 10,000 miles since buying it in August... Hope gas goes back down I already spend to much on gas :(
      • 3 Years Ago
      In the old days,Station Wagons were a popular choice for families going on road trips. Today there are hardly any Wagons on sale in America.
      • 3 Years Ago
      As much as I love cars, it's time that efficient high speed mass transit becomes a reality. I hate my self for saying that but it's for a greater good. (Eyes wide open and waitng for the firing squad......)
      • 3 Years Ago
      I would love to hear about motorcycle fatalities as well. I would like to see a decline there too.
        • 3 Years Ago
        you should be more concerned with the oil running out. it's running out.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I look forward to $4 gas and sharing the road with people who really need to go somewhere.
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