New federal data for the month of May shows continued decline in the number of miles Americans are driving 9.6 billion fewer miles in May 2008 compared to May 2007, a 3.7-percent drop, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). In April, people drove nearly 2 percent less than in April 2007.
This is the largest drop in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) for any May, which typically reflects increased traffic due to Memorial Day vacations and the beginning of summer, and is the third-largest monthly drop in the 66 years such data have been recorded, the FHWA reported. Three of the largest single-month declines each topping 9 billion miles have occurred since December 2007.
For the first five months of this year, Americans have driven a total 29.8 billion miles less compared to the same period last year. This continues a seven-month trend that amounts to 40.5 billion fewer miles traveled between November 2007 and May 2008 than the same period a year before.
Transportation Secretary Mary Peters expressed concern over the reduced revenue for the Federal Highway Trust Fund, which is supported by gasoline and diesel taxes (18.4 cents per gallon of gasoline; 24.4 cents per gallon of diesel).
"By driving less and using more fuel-efficient vehicles, Americans are showing us that the highways of tomorrow cannot be supported solely by the federal gas tax," Peters said.
To review the FHWA’s "Traffic Volume Trends" reports for May 2008, visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/tvtw/tvtpage.htm.