Women are driving more often and to further distances, according to a recent study.
Michael Sivak from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute has conducted a study that examined the changes in the relative proportions of male and female drivers in the U.S. with data from the Federal Highway Administration. Sivak examined data from 1963 through 2013 and found that the proportion of female drivers has gradually increased. In 2013, they made up 50.5 percent of all drivers on the road. Women drivers became the majority in 2005 according to the study, an increase from 39.6 percent in 1963.
Despite being a slight majority on today’s roadways in the U.S., the average male drives one-and-a-half times the distance compared to the average female. That gap has closed significantly in the last 50 years, with the annual driving distance for women increasing 89 percent versus 33 percent for men.
Sivak also believes that gender trends in driving has an impact on vehicle demand, energy consumption and road safety. “This is the case because, compared to males, females are more likely to purchase smaller, safer and more fuel-efficient vehicles than males,” Sivak said. “Females drive less and tend to have a lower fatality rate per distance driven.”