Eleven Billion Fewer Vehicle Miles Traveled in March 2008 Over Previous March
June 01, 2008
"That Americans are driving less underscores the challenges facing the Highway Trust Fund and its reliance on the federal gasoline excise tax," said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Jim Ray.
Given the drop in driving, federal statistics show Americans drove 11 billion fewer miles in March 2008 than in March 2007. That means a prime source of road maintenance and construction money has begun to dry up.
An upshot of American's cutting
back on driving in the face of soaring gasoline prices is the
loss of what could be billions of dollars in the Highway Trust
Fund. This fund is the pool of money fed by federal gasoline
tax revenues that are siphoned from each gallon of gas sold.
States and cities depend on these funds to build new roads or
fix old ones.
Though February 2008 showed a modest 1 billion mile increase over February 2007, cumulative vehicle miles traveled has fallen by 17.3 billion miles since November 2006. Total vehicle miles traveled in the United States for 2006, the most recent year for which such data are available, topped 3 trillion miles.
Additionally, the U.S. Department of Transportation estimated that greenhouse gas emissions fell by an estimated 9 million metric tons for the first quarter of 2008.
The estimated data show that vehicle miles traveled on all U.S. public roads have dropped since 2006. The Federal Highway Administration's Traffic Monitoring Analysis System (TMAS) computes vehicle miles traveled for all types of motor vehicles (motorcycles, cars, buses and trucks) on the nation's public roads. These data are collected through over 4,000 automatic traffic recorders operated round-the-clock by state highway agencies. More comprehensive data are published in the FHWA's "Highway Statistics" at the end of each year.
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