Gas is cheap and US drivers use it to log more miles than ever

The nation's vehicles collectively logged 1.58 trillion miles in the first six months of this year, according to federal data. That's up 3.3 percent from last year.

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Traffic races I-55 South, just past the Louisiana-Mississippi state line, near Independence, La. on Aug. 13, 2016.

With the summer travel season more than halfway over and gas prices still quite low, U.S drivers have already logged a record-breaking number of miles traveled.

The nation's vehicles collectively logged 1.58 trillion miles in the first six months of this year, according to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) data.

That's up 3.3 percent from the same period last year.

It's also a record number of miles for the first six months of any year, notes The Hill.

Between January and June 2015, U.S. drivers covered 1.54 trillion miles, which was its own record at the time.

In June of this year alone, drivers covered 282.3 billion miles, which represents a slight increase from June 2015, according to the DoT data.

The consistent increase in mileage is due to a number of factors, with cheap gas likely chief among them.

It's also worth noting that, when planning summer vacations, driving may be a more attractive option for some travelers than flying.

While long spells behind the wheel can be taxing, flying has gotten more annoying, painful, and pricey than ever.

Issues caused by airlines themselves are now the biggest cause of flight delays, notes Bloomberg.

Those include mechanical breakdowns and system glitches such as the computer failure that grounded thousands of Delta Airlines flights earlier this year,

That means that even with clear weather and manageable levels of traffic, travelers aren't guaranteed a timely flight.

At the same time, the average airline ticket buys precious few amenities, and flying requires submitting to tedious and time-consuming security checks.

But more miles traveled isn't necessarily as bad as it used to be. While U.S. drivers are logging more miles than ever, they still use less fuel than in previous decades.

New-car average fuel economy has declined somewhat in recent months due to increased sales of SUVs, but it remains far higher than it was a decade ago.

The average for July was 25.4 mpg, according to a running tally kept by University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle.

That's up 5.3 mpg—or more than 25 percent—from October 2007, when the survey began.

Carmakers have consistently improved the rated fuel efficiency of virtually all new vehicles, solely in response to fuel-economy standards that increase continuously through 2025.

This story originally appeared on GreenCarReports.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Gas is cheap and US drivers use it to log more miles than ever
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today