US drivers, thanks to a surging economy that put more jobs on the market and to the affordable gasoline prices, clocked more miles than ever in their cars in May.
US motorists traveled a total of 275.1 billion miles in May and have tallied no less than 1.26 trillion so far this year, a record pace for the first five months of any year, according to figures from the Federal Highway Administration. In line with the surging pace of demand for new vehicles – which has managed to put the best tally after the first six years in almost a decade – the roads are getting even more cramped and crowded. “It is possible that U.S. driving may set new records all summer,” commented Doug Hecox, a spokesperson for the highway agency in Washington D.C. “Normally, the peak of the travel season is June, July and August.” The surge comes as at least four million Americans have gotten jobs since the start of last year, which equals an increased number of daily commutes, while gasoline prices have gone off 26 percent from the peak registered back in 2014.
The figures from the Federal Highway Administration cover all travel on all U.S. roadways, which translate into around 1,100 miles for every American over the age of 16, federal data shows. That would be the highest tally since August 2010, at the peak of the driving season. The increased driving is great news for the US refiners, who translated a record amount of crude into fuel over the past week. Data shows the profit for the fuel makers along the Gulf coast, where around 50 percent of US refineries are located, has been the best for the period in more than a decade.