© Reuters. A person puts gas in a vehicle at a gas station in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., August 11, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. vehicle travel in July fell 3.3% to 286.6 billion miles, the second consecutive monthly decline in American driving in the face of high fuel prices, the U.S. Transportation Department said.
The country witnessed a 9.9 billion-mile decline in July as gas prices remained above $4 a gallon nationally and 1.7% decline in June driving were the first monthly drops since February 2021. U.S. driving rose 11% in 2021 after falling in 2020 to the lowest yearly total since 2003 as COVID-19 shutdowns drastically reduced road use.
Road travel in the first seven months of 2022 is 1.87 trillion miles — still 1.8% higher than 2021 but below 2019 pre-pandemic levels for that period.
The American Automotive Association (AAA) said in August it found that drivers made significant changes to cope with high pump prices. AAA said in a new survey “almost two-thirds of U.S. adults have changed their driving habits or lifestyle since March.”
The retail gasoline price is currently $3.67, down almost 100 days in a row from an historic peak of $5.02 per gallon in mid-June, according to AAA. The current $3.67 average is 24 cents less than a month ago but 48 cents more than September 2021.