Traffic Volume Increases in Nov. for Sixth Month
The Federal Highway Administration reported today that travel on all roads and streets in the U.S. for the month of November was estimated at 241.8 billion vehicle miles, which is 1.1% above the same month last year, and almost 5% higher than the traffic volume in November 2008. What makes those November traffic increases especially noteworthy is that the price of gas in November last year averaged $2.86 per gallon, which was 8% above the November 2009 price of $2.65, and 33% above the November 2008 price of $2.15 (data here). Consumers and commercial drivers appear to be able to absorb the higher gas prices and still continue to increase driving as the economic recovery strengthens.
The November traffic increase was the sixth consecutive monthly increase compared to the same month last year starting in June 2010, and the eighth increase in the last nine months starting in March 2010.
On a moving 12-month total basis, the annual vehicle-distance traveled through November 2010 was 2,998 billion miles, the highest 12-month total since July 2008, almost two and-a-half years ago (see chart).
Following a sharp decline in U.S. traffic volume (moving 12-month basis) that started in late 2007 and ended at a cyclical low in May 2009, traffic volume has been gradually increasing as both personal and commercial travel on U.S. roads and highways have rebounded (see graph above). The ongoing improvements in vehicle miles since the summer of 2009, which is taking place despite rising gas prices, indicate that the economy recovery is sustainable and gaining momentum.