Americans drove less in March 2008, continuing a trend that began last November, according to estimates released today from the Federal Highway Administration.
“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.
The FHWA’s “Traffic Volume Trends” report, produced monthly since 1942, shows that estimated vehicle miles traveled (VMT) on all U.S. public roads for March 2008 fell 4.3 percent as compared with March 2007 travel. This is the first time estimated March travel on public roads fell since 1979. At 11 billion miles less in March 2008 than in the previous March, this is the sharpest yearly drop for any month in FHWA history.
Drivers seem to be slow to react to changes in gas prices, but during and after the post-Katrina price spike, there was definitely an effect. Let’s see whether this keeps up.