Transportation: Cars: Total Vehicle Miles Driven

The national average number of vehicle miles driven per month
The national average number of vehicle miles driven per month  

Related "Issue of the Day" Entries

Components of Gas Prices
Published Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

The price of gas in the last 48 days has risen $0.61 or 30.3% on average nationwide to set a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline to $2.669 on Monday. This comes as global events pull crude lower to $70 a barrel. Crude has had a rollercoaster ride with global events such as protests in Iran and sabotage in the Niger Delta; the World’s Reserve Currency and OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) have stated that $75-80 per barrel is a fair level.

From each barrel of crude, a refinery produces 19.15 gallons of gasoline, 9.21 gallons of diesel, and 16.32 gallons of various other products.  In 2007, the cost of crude oil only contributed 58% to the price of gas per gallon at the pump; this is 10 percent higher than previous years.  The refining cost — up 1% from the previous 7 years — contributed 17% to the average distribution cost of a gallon of regular. Distribution, marketing and retail dealer costs and profits in 2007 were 10% of the gasoline price, which is down from the 2000-2007 average of 12%. The demand for gas in the US, another factor in the price per gallon, is driven by a steady increase in the monthly vehicle mileage. Given slow rise in vehicle fuel efficiency, the US consumption of gasoline has, since 1980, remained about 700 gallons per year or a consumption of 9 million of barrels of crude oil a day.

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Gaps in Education Threaten US Competitive Edge
Published Friday, April 24th, 2009

According to the Department of Education, countries such as Canada, Japan, and Korea have advanced beyond 50% of their adult populations earning the equivalent of an associate degree or higher. To get the US population to the competition’s level represents a roughly 50% increase in US annual degree production for the next 16 years. Moreover, we would have to pay close attention to the shifting demographics of the US population, which by 2020, whites will decrease to 63%; Hispanic will increase to 17%; and Blacks will reach 13%. A study by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education argues that if current gaps remain, the net result would be a projected 2% decline in per capita income over the period from 2000 to 2020. This would result in a shrinking tax base and a weakened global competitive edge.

College degree attainment rates within the US have been relatively flat for two decades at 20-28% for males and 24-30% for women, averaging 29% overall in 2008. Of those aged 25-29, broken down by race, Whites achieve 32%; Blacks earn 19%; and Hispanics are awarded 13% of all degrees. Adding an Associate’s degree increases income by about $10,000 annually; adding a Bachelor’s near doubles income; and a professional degree quadruples a High School annual income. This is especially important when considering that the top 50% of wage earners have paid 96% of our total Income Tax Share in 2007.

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Public Transit Use on the Rise as Miles Trend Downward
Published Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

According to the Department of Transportation and the American Public Transportation Association, the number of miles traveled by vehicles in the United States fell by 3.6% in 2008, the number of trips taken on public transit increased by 4.0%. The total estimated number of miles driven in 2008 is 2.922 trillion, down from 3.030 trillion in 2007. This is a reduction of nearly 115 billion miles. The biggest drop was in the rural areas, as driving in these areas dropped by 4.2%, followed by urban areas which dropped by 3.2%. The increase in public transport usage may be attributed to the gradual 14 month decrease in miles driven by U.S. drivers.

Overall, transit ridership reached an overall 52 year high as U.S. residents took 10.7 billion trips on public transportation. In fact, light rail increased the greatest at 8.3% due partly to new and expanded services in Charlotte, North Carolina, and restored services in New Orleans, Louisiana. As for the other mass transit modes, Commuter Rail increased by 4.7%, subway ridership increased by 3.5%, bus ridership increased by 3.9%, and on-demand transit increased by 5.9%. Many of the transportation vehicles have not actually risen with demand, only the Bus services have slowly increased its fleet. As a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the President has given $8.4 billion to invest in public transit “to move us towards our long term goals of energy security and a better quality of life.”

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The Effects of Gas Price Changes
Published Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

The daily average price of a gallon of gasoline has declined to just under $2 after a sustained period of record high prices. The effect of previously high prices has been reductions in driving, increases in the use of mass transit, and purchases of more fuel-efficient vehicles, which have all been steps to improving energy independence.  According to the Department of Transportation, ‘vehicle miles driven‘ (VMD) fell for the 11th month in a row, 4.4% in September alone. The Department of Energy also stated that we consumed 5.5% less gasoline than last year. Yet, the drop in VMD and gasoline consumed has created a gas tax revenue shortfall of $3 Billion in 2008, which means less money for transportation infrasturcture.

The effect of recently lower gas prices is yet to be seen, but the continued economic growth of India, China, and other developing countries around the world, in addition to OPEC and non-OPEC reactions to this price decline, is expected to eventually bring the price of oil back up.

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U.S. Department of Energy: Fuel Economy -
The Energy Information Administration (EIA), created by Congress in 1977, is a statistical agency of the U.S. Department of Energy. Our mission is to provide policy-neutral data, forecasts, and analyses to promote sound policy making, efficient markets, and public understanding regarding energy and its Only about 15% of the energy from the fuel you put in your tank gets used to move your car down the road or run useful accessories, such as air conditioning. The rest of the energy is lost to engine and driveline inefficiencies and idling. Therefore, the potential to improve fuel efficiency with advanced technologies is enormous.

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Fuel Economy: Gas Mileage Guide -
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) produce the Fuel Economy Guide to help car buyers choose the most fuel-efficient vehicle that meets their needs.