Americans driving less, log fewest miles since 2004

The price of a gallon of gasoline has been a major downer so far in 2011, and data shows that it may be affecting driving habits. According to The Detroit News, the Federal Highway Administration claims that Americans drove 1.453 trillion miles in the first half of 2011. That's down 1.1 percent compared to the first six months of 2010, or an eye-popping 15.5 billion fewer miles compared to the first half of last year. In fact, the government report shows that total miles are down to the lowest level since 2004.

Vehicle miles traveled was down on both rural and urban roads during that time span, though the greater drop occurred outside our nation's cities. Rural roads dropped by 1.7 percent, while urban roads declined by only one percent.

There is no telling if economic woes and pricey petrol will continue to keep Americans out of their vehicles in the second half of 2011, but it's a solid bet that we'll fall short of the 3 trillion miles traveled in 2010.

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