With low gas prices, US driving more than ever before

So Far, 2015 Is Setting The Record

It's not a surprise. When gas is cheap, Americans drive more. The group that tracks these sorts of things, the US Department of Transportation ( USDOT) released study about a month ago that showed that Americans had driven 987.8 billion miles in the first four months of 2015. That's the most since a record of 965.5 billion was set back in April 2007. While gas is roughly the same price now as it was back in 2007, it's a lot cheaper than it was a year ago – and who can remember all the way back eight years ago.

Speaking on Here and Now the other day, Phil Flynn, a senior market analyst for The PRICE Futures Group, said that lower gas prices were helping American's drive more. While there are a number of factors that play into vehicle miles traveled (VMT), it makes sense that we're seeing another uptick. The drop in prices at the pump over the last year or so has happened as we've been driving more. The VMT total has been going up for 14 months in a row (since March 2014) according to the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials Journal.

Of course, the first quarter of a year does not define the 12-month total. For all of 2007, for example, the USDOT estimates American's drove 3,003.2 billion miles. For 2014, the number was 3015.6 billion, and that's without a record first quarter. Anyone want to wager a guess that the total will be when we're singing Auld Lang Syne in five months?

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