Transportation: Vehicle miles driven per capita are dropping

“For decades, the country’s driving pattern moved in sync with the economy. Now, we’re driving less even though the economy has been expanding for more than a decade.”

Source: America’s Love Affair With Driving Takes a Back Seat – WSJ

This trend is important and is apparently invisible. Oregon and Utah have launched optional vehicle gas or license fees based on miles traveled rather than a fixed annual fee. (A problem with this method is they charge you for miles traveled out of state too.)

Some news reports suggest a per mile charge is needed because of better gas mileage vehicles but miss that people are driving driving less.

“The program emerges after states saw gas tax revenues fall continually in recent years, largely because cars are getting better mileage — and because a growing number of electric and hybrid vehicles escape that tax.”

Cars are getting better gas mileage. EVs, though, represent about 1% (or less) of cars on the road and are an insignificant factor at this time.

The real reason is people may be driving less than in the past while vehicles achieve better gas mileage.