Traffic Volume Increases in February for 9th Month
The Federal Highway Administration reported recently that travel on all roads and streets in the U.S. for the month of February was estimated at 214.8 billion vehicle miles, which is 0.9% above the same month last year. February marked the ninth consecutive month (starting in June last year) of an annual increase in traffic volume. At least through February, consumers and commercial drivers have apparently been able to absorb the higher gas prices and still continue to increase driving as the economy recovers. The average retail price of gas in February was $3.21 per gallon, compared to $3.56 in March and $3.80 in April, so it's possible that the rising gas prices in recent months may cause drivers to reduce their travel activity in response.
On a moving 12-month total basis (to smooth out the monthly seasonal variations), the annual vehicle-distance traveled through February was 3,003 billion miles, the highest 12-month total since July 2008, more than two and-a-half years ago (see chart above).