Data from the Federal Highway Administration shows Americans drove 3.8 billion or 1.6 percent fewer miles in December 2008 than during the comparable 2007 period, according to the United States Department of Transportation. Travel for the month was an estimated 237.2 billion vehicle miles.
Cumulative travel for 2008 decreased 3.6 percent or 107.9 billion vehicle miles.
The consecutive 14-month trend of declining driving—between November 2007 and December 2008—now tops 115 billion vehicle miles traveled compared to the same period a year earlier.
The western U.S., which includes 13 states, experienced the biggest decline for December 2008 versus the same period in 2007 at 4.8 percent. Oregon, and Washington, with 14.7 percent and 11.1 percent fewer vehicle miles traveled, respectively, led the country with the greatest single-state declines due, in large part, to unusually large snowfall.
Despite the overall 14-month decline in vehicle miles traveled in the U.S., 17 states posted slight increases, the first time that has occurred since August 2008. Colorado, led the U.S. in increased single-month travel, with 5.4 percent, or roughly 200 million more vehicle miles traveled in December compared with December 2007.