Drive Wire for August 26, 2016: America Is Driving More Miles Than Ever

As in, 1.58 trillion miles in the last 6 months alone.

This week, the Department of Transportation revealed that driving was up 3.3 percent in the first half of 2016, for a total of 1.58 trillion miles in just six months. Traffic was up across all regions of the U.S., with the West, California to Montana, making the largest gains of 4.1%, and the Northeast, at 2.4%, the smallest. Cheap gas—and stubbornly expensive airfare—are likely reasons for the increase in road travel.

The data was published in an effort to highlight the need for the DOT’s FAST Act—which stands for Fixing America’s Surface Transportation—a $305 billion investment in America’s roads, highways and bridges through 2020. That distance—1.58 trillion miles—is equal to 250 round trips to Pluto or 5% of the distance to that earth-like planet, Proxima B, astronomers just discovered.