Policy Analysis | July 2008

How have record-high gasoline prices impacted driving habits in the SLC region?

With gas prices reaching record highs and public transit ridership surging to unprecedented heights, the latest U.S. Department of Transportation statistics (April 2008) indicate that Americans are driving less for the sixth month in a row. Specifically, Americans drove 1.4 billion fewer highway miles in April 2008 than at the same time a year earlier and 400 million miles less than in March of this year. In addition, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) on all public roads for April 2008 fell by 1.8 percent compared with April 2007, a decline of nearly 20 billion miles traveled this year, and nearly 30 billion miles traveled since November 2007.

The following information has been collected from Traffic Volume Trends, a monthly report based on hourly traffic count data reported by the States. These data are collected at approximately 4,000 continuous traffic counting locations (stations) nationwide and are used to estimate the percent change in traffic for the current month compared with the same month in the previous year.

Decreases in Total VMT in the SLC States
March 2007 vs. March 2008

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Vehicle Miles Traveled on All Estimated Roads
March
State
Number of Stations
Vehicle Miles (in Millions)
Percent Change
2007
2008
Alabama
-
5,338
5,009
-6.2
Arkansas
33
2,896
2,659
-8.2
Florida
208
18,676
17,812
-4.6
Georgia
-
10,210
9,615
-5.8
Kentucky
92
4,041
3,695
-8.6
Louisiana
36
3,794
3,706
-2.3
Maryland
53
4,699
4,577
-2.6
Mississippi
-
3,672
3,421
-6.8
Missouri
127
5,696
5,350
-6.1
North Carolina
-
8,929
8,368
-6.3
Oklahoma
-
4,369
4,063
-7.0
South Carolina
129
4,476
4,246
-5.1
Tennessee
12
6,195
5,662
-8.6
Texas
154
21,580
20,759
-3.8
Virginia
273
6,822
6,595
-3.3
West Virginia
-
1,816
1,732
-4.6
Region
SLC
1,117
113,209
107,269
-5.3
Nation
3,549
257,297
246,182
-4.3

Decreases in Total VMT in the SLC States
April 2007 vs. April 2008

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Vehicle Miles Traveled on All Estimated Roads
April
State
Number of Stations
Vehicle Miles (in Millions)
Percent Change
2007
2008
Alabama
-
5,242
5,056
-3.6
Arkansas
32
2,539
2,493
-1.8
Florida
207
17,378
16,765
-3.5
Georgia
150
9,979
9,716
-2.6
Kentucky
86
4,023
3,925
-2.4
Louisiana
-
3,707
3,669
-1.0
Maryland
53
4,593
4,546
-1.0
Mississippi
-
3,575
3,509
-1.9
Missouri
125
5,662
5,487
-3.1
North Carolina
-
8,559
8,355
-2.4
Oklahoma
-
4,221
4,176
-1.1
South Carolina
129
4,296
4,142
-3.6
Tennessee
-
5,909
5,773
-2.3
Texas
156
19,828
19,707
-0.6
Virginia
283
6,694
6,539
-2.3
West Virginia
-
1,759
1,745
-0.8
Region
SLC
1,221
107,964
105,603
-2.2
Nation
3,165
250,316
245,888
-1.8
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Notes:

  • All Estimated Roads include rural arterial roads, urban arterial roads, and remaining roads and streets.
  • Where Number of Stations are shown as dashes, the values for the Vehicle-Miles and Percent Change are derived from the estimated VMT based on data from surrounding states or the nationwide average VMT.
  • All data for April are preliminary.
  • All vehicle-miles of travel computed with 2006 Table VM-2 as a base.
  • Compiled with data on hand as of June 10, 2008.

Source:

April 2008 Traffic Volume Trends, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation