Despite falling gas prices in the final months of 2008, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the United States dropped for the 13th straight month in November 2008 by 12.9 billion, or 5.3 percent, compared to the same month a year earlier, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reported. The FHWA says it’s the largest November decline since monthly data estimates began in 1971.
Americans drove 112 billion miles less between November 2007 and November 2008 compared to the same 13-month period a year earlier. The FHWA says this dwarfs the 49.9-billion VMT decline of the 1970s, a decade characterized by high gas prices, fuel shortages and a recession.
The South-Atlantic region and the West experienced the largest declines in driving. At 11.6 percent fewer VMT, Rhode Island led the nation with the largest single-state decline. As it has since the trend began, the decline in rural driving in November 2008 outpaced urban driving.
The following chart illustrates VMT by region for November 2008 and the percentage of decline when compared to November 2007.
|North-East||34.3 billion||-4.7 percent|
|South-Atlantic||48.1 billion||-6.1 percent|
|North-Central||50.6 billion||-5.3 percent|
|South-Gulf||45.2 billion||-3.6 percent|
|West||52.1 billion||-6.4 percent|
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