Americans drove three trillion miles in 2010 image

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Americans drove three trillion miles in 2010 the most vehicle miles traveled since 2007 and the third-highest ever recorded.

That’s an 0.7 percent increase-20.5 billions more miles-than the previous year.

Rural Interstates saw the most significant gains in miles traveled in 2010 versus 2009-about two percent higher. Overall urban miles traveled were down 0.2 percent-likely showing the decrease in commuter miles.

According to the same report, the South Gulf area, a bloc of eight states ranging from Texas to Kentucky, experienced the greatest regional increase in December 2010 at 46.6 billion VMT, an increase of 624 million miles traveled compared to the previous December.

Americans love road trips! And, despite the increase in miles traveled, traffic fatalities in 2010 were at their lowest since 1950.

“More driving means more wear and tear on our nation’s roads and bridges,” said Secretary LaHood.  “This new data further demonstrates why we need to repair the roads and bridges that are the lifeblood of our economy.”

However, we wouldn’t expect the same increase in miles driven for next year, as gas prices are expected to climb to $4 a gallon over the summer.

To review the VMT data in FHWA’s “Traffic Volume Trends” reports, including that of December 2010, visit http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/tvtw/tvtpage.cfm.