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Average annual highway vehicle miles traveled per capita varies by state

On a per-capita basis, the number of vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) on the nation’s roads varies from a low of 5,300 annual miles in the District of Columbia to 16,900 annual miles in Wyoming.

These data are for 2017, the most recent year for which vehicle miles of travel are available.


Note: Highway vehicle VMT includes all vehicle travel on highways, streets, and local roads. Values rounded to the nearest hundred miles.
Sources: VMT – U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Highway Statistics 2017, August 2018, Table VM-2.
Resident population – U.S. Census Bureau, “State Population Totals and Components of Change: 2010-2018,” accessed October 15, 2019.



Note, this is per capita, not per household, or per over 16.
So that is a lot of miles per car in some states.
Or else they have very few children in Alabama and Wyoming.


If you are in Wyoming, you are a long ways from any major cities. Western Wyoming has to turn to Salt lake City and if you are in Eastern Wyoming and can not find what you need in Cheyenne, you need to go to Denver.

However, maybe the fact that it is per capita explains why Utah which has a high birth has the relative low value for the miles driven.


These are miles driven in each location, not miles driven by drivers from the location, correct? So when Colorado drivers travel through Wyoming, that would count as miles for Wyoming?

Assuming so, states with small populations and a high fraction of out-of-state drivers traveling through will rank disproportionately high. Wyoming likely fits that description. States with high populations and fewer out-of-state drivers will rank lower. Washington DC and New York certainly do have a lot of out-of-town visitors, but those visitors probably aren't racking up a ton of driving miles in those places, given the urban settings and plentiful transit alternatives.

It would require a completely different data collection mechanism, but I'd find it more interesting to see these results grouped by drivers' states of residence rather than by where the miles are being driven.

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