There are more Americans driving their cars this year thanks to lower gas prices.
According to a report from the U.S. Transportation Department, driving is up 3.9 percent in the first two months of 2015, with February marking 12-months of increased growth in a row. Americans drove 6.1-billion miles more in February year-over-year, up to a total of 22.1-billion miles. That makes it the second highest February on record and the highest year-over-year jump in 11 years.
Much of the increase can be attributed to lower gas prices with the national average sitting at $2.51 a gallon, nearly $1.20 a gallon lower than a year ago. In 2013, gas prices averaged nearly $4 a gallon before falling to nearly $2 a gallon, the lowest it has been in nearly 10 years.
Drivers on the west coast are getting behind the wheel more than anyone else in the nation with 13 western states seeing traffic increase 6.6 percent. Oregon led the U.S. with the largest single-state traffic increase, jumping 13.3 percent. Montana was second in the U.S. increasing 12.8 percent and rounding out the top three was Indiana at 8.9 percent.
Last year, Americans collectively drove 3.02-trillion miles, which marked a 1.7-percent increase from 2013. At the current pace, Americans are on track this year to set an all-time record – that is if gas prices stay the way they are.
“By measuring the demands placed upon our nation’s roads and bridges, we are better able to understand the need for greater investment in them,” said Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. “Americans are driving farther and more frequently, which makes additional investments in our highway system more important now than ever.”
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