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Vehicle-Miles Traveled Back On Rising Trend

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A Time Series Analysis by the U.S. Department of Transportation finds national vehicle miles traveled resuming their historic climb.

"After a 2-year interruption to a long-term upward trend, the number of vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) on the Nation’s highways appears to have resumed a pattern of upward growth in 2009," reported Dr. Peg Young in the two-page report, "Upward Trend in Vehicle-Miles Resumed During 2009."

When the normal seasonal fluctuation is factored out, a resulting trend emerges. That trend showed an average increase of approximately 350 million VMT per month from 1990 until June 2004.

"The major drop in the trend occurred around December 2007, which coincides with the beginning of the current recession," Young noted. "From December 2007 through June 2008, VMT declined at a rate of approximately 1,200 million (1.2 billion) per month."

Since July 2008, the vehicle miles traveled trend line has been increasing 200 million miles on average each month.