Americans Driving At Historic Lows

Houston, TX - Americans drove less in March 2008, continuing a trend that began last November, according to estimates released 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.

The FHWA said that while February 2008 showed a modest 1 billion mile increase over February 2007, cumulative VMT has fallen by 17.3 billion miles since November 2006. Total VMT in the United States for 2006, the most recent year for which such data are available, topped 3 trillion miles.

So when we hear that gasoline and diesel demand is really not dropping very much, we find it quite ludicrous. After the Memorial Day weekend, which we suspect will be the slowest in years, based on the amount of driving Americans don't do, it will become clearer just how far gasoline demand is dropping.

It is clear American consumers are changing driving habits due to high retail prices. FHWA report confirms our suspicions, and will only get worse as prices head to $4.00 per gallon, and diesel approaches $5.00 per gallon.

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.