We’ve always have had a passion for driving. Whether it’s cruising California State Route 1 down the coast, or finding off-the-beaten-path road trip destinations, we love to explore our country by car. Is it any wonder then that 2015 might set a record for number of miles driven in the United States?
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Three Major Influences, Nationwide Impact
According to Forbes, the reason why we could log more than three trillion miles this year is due to three factors: cheaper gas, a rebounding economy, and improved car sales. Over the first three months of 2015, U.S. driving increased by 3.9 percent compared to the same period in 2014, according to a recent Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) report.
The trend appears to be taking hold across the country with the Western Region leading the way seeing a gain of 5.3 percent. Among individual states, Montana led the charge with a whopping 9.5 percent increase. Hawaii was up there as well at 8.2 percent. Meanwhile, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts were the only states that saw declines in miles driven by 1.6 percent or less. The South Atlantic, which includes seven states and Washington, D.C., rose by 5 percent.
Bigger Demographic Trends
The factors named by Forbes are certainly compelling, however, we might be seeing the cusp of even greater forces at work here. The FHWA report also cited increased commercial truck shipments and a 70 million person population growth by 2045 as strong influential factors.
Drivers should also be expecting to see improved road conditions due to the Obama Administration dedicating $478 billion to rebuild and maintain America’s roadways. This is good news since reports have shown that US infrastructure has needed attention for quite some time now.
The Forbes article also noted that the increase in US miles driven represents a dramatic return to a trend established for decades. For a while, it seemed like the nation’s mileage would go up every year, until gas prices hit $3.50 a gallon and more. At that point, Americans put on the brakes until 2009 when pumps prices began to fall. In fact, this summer promises to see some of the lowest gas prices in quite a long time.
More Driving, More Breakdown Potential
With all these added miles, the chance for mechanical failure also increases. Savvy drivers know that today’s car repair process can be costly, and extended warranties make good sense. This is especially true since most mechanics now rely on a part replacement strategy rather than actual repair. This means when you take your car into the shop, the mechanic just keeps replacing parts until the vehicle works properly. This can dramatically inflate the cost of any trip to the garage.
Enjoy The Road
It’s a great time to be a car driver. Take advantage of low gas prices and improving highway conditions while you can. Also, make sure your car stays in good working order while you’re out on the road.
Cover your car repair costs with an extended auto warranty. Get a free quote from CARCHEX today.