Chart of the Day: US Vehicle Distance Travelled, October

Via City Observatory, here’s a chart that shows a great proxy for the annual VMT (or vehicle miles travelled). It’s pretty self-explanatory.

For many years, almost since the year 2000, VMT (the total amount of driving in the country) was at a plateau. With low gas prices and a booming economy, that’s changed. The country has reverted back to the “inexorable growth” pattern it’s had for most of the last century.

Here’s  Joe Cortright’s description of the chart:

After more than a decade of moderation in driving (motivated largely by high gas prices), driving in the US started increasing again when oil prices collapsed in 2014.  Data from the US Department of Transportation trace a clear uptick in driving in the past three years.

Keep in mind that population growth has been occurring in the country as well. And obviously this is at a big scale. I suspect VMT trends might be more nuanced or complicated in urban areas.

See also: these other VMT charts.

Bill Lindeke

About Bill Lindeke

Pronouns: he/him

Bill Lindeke has writing blogging about sidewalks and cities since 2005, ever since he read Jane Jacobs. He is a lecturer in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota Geography Department, the Cityscape columnist at Minnpost, and has written multiple books on local urban history. He was born in Minneapolis, but has spent most of his time in St Paul. Check out Twitter @BillLindeke or on Facebook.