U.S. drivers in July set a new record for most mileage driven amid the height of the summer vacation season, new federal data show.
New estimates released by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) also show that U.S. driving topped 1.82 trillion miles in the year’s first seven months, beating the previous record – 1.77 trillion, set in July 2007.
The new data, published in FHWA’s latest “Traffic Volume Trends” report
– a monthly estimate of U.S. road travel – show that 283.7 billion miles were driven in July, the most ever in July of any year – reaffirming calls for increased investment in transportation infrastructure as demand on the nation’s highway system grows.
With the new July 2015 estimates, the series of monthly mileage increases now stands at 17 consecutive months.
For the second month in a row, traffic in the North Central region – a 12-state region that includes North Dakota, Ohio and Missouri – led the nation with 65.2 billion unadjusted VMT, extending its monthly VMT growth to eight straight months.
The Northeast, a nine-state area stretching from Pennsylvania to Maine, showed the smallest growth – rising only 2.6 percent, or 40.8 billion VMT, compared to the same month a year earlier.
At 10 percent, Hawaii led the nation for the second month in a row with the largest unadjusted single-state traffic percent increase compared to the same month a year earlier, followed by Florida at 6.8 percent and Texas at 6.6 percent.
And as drivers continue to take to the road, it's getting cheaper to fill their gasoline tanks.
The U.S. average price of regular gasoline dropped 9 cents over the past two weeks to $2.35 a gallon, the AP reported.
Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday that prices have plummeted from five weeks ago as U.S. retailers and refiners slashed their profit margins even as crude oil prices rose.
She says she expects prices could drop another few cents due to ample gasoline supplies and strong consumer demand.
The national average price of diesel fell 5 cents in the past two weeks to $2.58 a gallon.
In the lower 48 states, the lowest average price of regular gasoline was $1.92 per gallon in Baton Rouge, while the highest was $3.06 per gallon in Los Angeles.
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