American motorists are increasingly clocking more miles on the highways and byways thanks to lower gasoline prices, rising employment and the overall increase in consumer confidence – triggering a “road trip recovery.”
That’s according to Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at Convergex, with figures provided by the Department of Transportation showing an average surge of 3.8 percent in the year-to-year percentage changes in the number of vehicle miles driven. This year’s growth is the highest since 1989 if the result remains the same by the end of the year, and the surge has been constant since 2009. “Silicon Valley better get cracking on those self-driving cars, hoverboards and whatever else they have in mind,” commented Colas in a recent report, “because 2015 is proving to be a breakout year for American driving patterns.”
Rather low gasoline prices seem to be spurring the desire to travel more instead of taking it to the air, added the New York-based strategist. Average gasoline prices for the month of September stood at $2.49 a gallon across the country – and that compares to $3.51 a gallon during the same timeframe of 2014. Higher employment is also delivering an incentive, with a survey done by the Commerce Department showing 85 percent of Americans used their car to get to work.
The same factors have also allowed the US new vehicle market to grow constantly since 2009, with 2015 set to finish with the best result in more than a decade and with analysts predicting now the past all time record of 17.4 million autos would be reached and passed by 2017.