U.S. Motorists and Their Changed Driving Habits!
By Angela Greiling Keane
Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) — U.S. motorists drove less in October, extending a decline in road travel to a full year, the longest drop since 1980.
Vehicle-miles traveled fell 3.5 percent from a year earlier, the Federal Highway Administration said in a report today.
The decline began in November 2007, a month before the U.S. entered the current recession, and preceded a climb in gasoline prices to a record high in July. The drop is caused by both changed driving habits after gas prices rose and the economy, said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors.
“The fact that it’s continued even as prices have fallen so dramatically is the indication that this is not simply an economic slowdown,” said Naroff, who’s based in Holland, Pennsylvania.
Vehicle miles traveled fell 8.9 billion miles in October, bringing the 12-month decline to 100.1 billion, according to the Washington-based agency. The decline extended as gasoline slid to an average of $3.08 a gallon in October from a record $4.11 on July 15, according to AAA, the largest U.S. motorist group. The average price for the month was 10 percent higher than a year earlier.
The driving decline, which is spread across the U.S., reduces the amount of federal money raised from fuel-tax revenue to pay for highways and transit. Lower fuel costs and increased economic growth may stem the drop, Federal Highway Administration spokesman Doug Hecox said.
“Traffic is going to normalize again as soon as the economy begins to stabilize or fuel-efficient vehicles start appearing in the marketplace, giving consumers a choice,” he said.The Truth Tracker Jason R. Bootie