Vehicle Miles Traveled Improves Again in April



News : Thu, 26 Jun 2014

Maybe it is the effect of Spring fever as much of the U.S. sought to shake off the cabin fever caused by one of the worst winter weather seasons of recent years or perhaps improving economic conditions, or both. Regardless, traffic volume continued to increase in April.

According to the most recent data released by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), travel for the month of April is estimated at 254.9 billion vehicle miles nationwide, this is an increase of 1.8 percent, or 4.6 billion vehicle miles, compared to April 2013. This marks the second month with an increase in driving compared to 2013 after weather driven declines in January and February.


In April, four of the five U.S. regions saw increases in driving. The South Gulf saw the largest percentage increase, up 3.0 percent in April versus 2013. The West came in with the next largest increase at 2.3 percent. The South Atlantic grew by 1.9 percent and the North Central region by 1.5 percent versus April 2013.

The Northeast was the only region to report a decline at just 0.1 percent below 2013, an improvement from the 0.8 percent decline reported in March.

Looking at the more populated states, New York was down by 0.9 percent compared to last April and Pennsylvania increased by 0.3 percent. New Jersey declined by 0.3 percent in April compared to 2013.

In the South Atlantic, Florida increased 2.4 percent and Georgia increased 1.6 percent compared to last April. In the North Central region, Illinois increased 1.9 percent, Indiana decreased 1.4 percent and Michigan increased 2.2 percent.

Texas rose 3.5 percent and California increased 1.4 percent.

Overall 42 states and the District of Columbia reported increases in March. Delaware was flat and seven states reported declines. On a percentage basis, the state with the largest decline was Rhode Island at 4.1 percent below April 2013. The largest percent growth was recorded by North Dakota at 7.8 percent above 2013. Colorado reported the next highest growth at 6.8 percent up over April 2013.


Looking at our chart comparing the prior recession recovery periods of 1973 and 1979, the current major driving recession is now down 2.33 percent in April 2014 versus the peak in November 2007. When looking at the decline since February 2011 as its own recession within a recession, the latest numbers show this decline is now 1.17 percent.

Gasoline prices increased in April. The average price of $3.66 per gallon of regular unleaded gasoline for the month is up 13 cents from March and nine cents or 2.6 percent above the $3.57 average in April 2013.