We recently told you that last year the total amount of driven miles was above 3 trillion, very close to the all-time record of 3.03 trillion miles. And judging by January’s FHA figures, 2015 could bring a never before seen tally.
According to federal data, the rapid growth in driven miles by US motorists continued into the first month of the year, with travel surging 4.9 percent past the figures registered for the same period in 2014 and reaching a new all-time high. The figures from the Federal Highway Administration show US drivers traveled an estimated 237.3 billion miles (381.9 billion km) in January, setting a new record for the month. With last year having the highest mileage achieved since 2007, January represented the eleventh straight month of year-to-year surge and came after an equal – 5 percent – increase in December, counting as the fastest pace in more than a decade. “The demand for gasoline has been stronger than expected,” commented Phil Flynn, an analyst with Price Futures Group. “Americans love low gasoline prices, and when gasoline prices fell, coupled with a growing economy, we are going back to our old habits.”
Industry experts say the sharp rise in the number of driven miles can be attributed to several factors, such as very low gasoline prices (they were a tad below $2 a gallon in January for a limited period of time), the low figures seen last year due to the harsh winter and the increase in new car sales. The travel mileage is also used as an early indicator for the total consumption of gasoline, with official data on the matter expected next week from the Energy Information Administration.