Americans drove 3.15 trillion miles in 2015, breaking the previous record of about 3 trillion miles set in 2007. Driving is certainly a major part of life in the United States. Driving habits vary considerably between states, however.
To determine in which states drivers travel the most, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the Federal Highway Administration and calculated the average mileage traveled per licensed driver. Drivers in Wyoming travel the greatest distance at 22,306 miles per driver. Alaskans only drive 9,134 miles a year, the lowest amount in the country.
One factor contributing to the amount of driving in a state is the percentage of people who live in rural areas. Nine of the 10 states where drivers travel the farthest have a higher share of the population living in rural areas than the national share. By contrast, states where the vast majority of residents live in urban areas tend to have shorter commutes and therefore drive less overall. Seven of the 10 states where drivers travel the least have a greater share of the population living in urban areas than in the nation as a whole.
> Annual miles traveled per driver: 14,246
> Annual gas cost per driver: $1,364.55 (14th lowest)
> Fatalities per million miles traveled: 89 (14th least)
The more time spent on the road, the greater the risk of car accidents and fatalities. Wyoming has the most miles travelled per driver and the second highest fatality rate in the nation. Conversely, eight of the 10 states where drivers travel the least have fatality rates below the national rate.
To identify the states where drivers travel the farthest, 24/7 Wall St. calculated average miles traveled per licensed driver annually with data from the Federal Highway Administration’s 2014 Highway Statistics report. The proportion of the population living in urban and rural areas came from the 2010 Decennial Census. Annual cost of gasoline was calculated using each state’s total gallons of gasoline usage and total licensed drivers in that state, both from the Federal Highway Administration. Gas prices used in the calculation are from July 6, 2016 and are from the American Automobile Association.
Click here to see the states where people drive the greatest distances.