Travel on all roads and streets in the US dropped to an estimated 254.7 billion miles for May 2008—a decrease of 3.7% compared with May 2007, according to the US Federal Highway Administration (FHA). This was the seventh straight month of decline. Cumulative calendar year VMT through May 2008 is now down by 2.4% to 1,188.5 billion miles compared to the same period in 2007.
|US VMT continued its decline in May 2008. Click to enlarge.|
Americans drove 9.6 billion fewer VMT in May 2008 than in May 2007, according to the FHA data. This is the largest drop in VMT for any May, which typically reflects increased traffic due to Memorial Day vacations and the beginning of summer, and is the third-largest monthly drop in the 66 years such data have been recorded. Three of the largest single-month declines—each topping 9 billion miles—have occurred since December.
The ongoing decline in VMT is additional proof that the country needs new means other than the gas tax to finance the nation’s transportation infrastructure, US Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters said.
By driving less and using more fuel-efficient vehicles, Americans are showing us that the highways of tomorrow cannot be supported solely by the federal gas tax. We must embrace more sustainable funding sources for highways and bridges through more sustainable and effective ways such as congestion pricing and private activity bonds.—Secretary Peters