How the Pandemic Scrambled Long-Term Driving Patterns: Americans Already Drove Less, Hidden by Population Growth

by Wolf Richter
Wolf Street

Bounce back to what? The Pandemic Scrambled Long-Term Trends in both directions.

Total miles driven in September on all roads and streets in the US fell by 8.6%, or by 23.4 billion vehicle miles, compared to a year earlier, to 248.3 billion miles, according to the Federal Highway Administration on Friday. While that year-over-year decline is huge by historic standards, it’s the smallest year-over-year decline since the Pandemic started.

Normally, in September, miles driven drop from the summer driving months. Last year, the drop from August to September was 5.2%. This year, the drop from August to September was only 1.2%, perhaps impacted by the calendar shift of Labor Day. Nevertheless, this lower than normal month-to-month drop means that the recovery of miles driven continues:

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