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FHWA Fun Facts:
Traffic Congestion

According to new data from the Federal Highway Administration:

  • Americans drove more than 3 trillion miles in 2006, the most recent year for which data are available. This is the highest figure ever recorded for the nation’s driving and represents the 27th consecutive increase in surface transportation, an indicator of traffic congestion nationally.

  • Preliminary data show that Americans drove 3,033,753,000,000 miles in 2006. This figure is roughly double the nation’s total mileage traveled in 1980 and more than four times the total mileage traveled in 1957, the interstate’s first year.

  • In 2006, drivers increased the nation’s total distance driven by 43.9 billion miles – the equivalent of nearly 6 trips to Pluto and back – over the previous year.

  • Total vehicle registration, which indicates the total inventory of vehicles driving, increased slightly over the previous year to 244,165,686 vehicles including motorcycles. This is the fourth consecutive year vehicle registration has increased and continues a trend broken only infrequently since 1900, the earliest year for which such data are available.

The data will be published in the forthcoming “Highway Statistics 2006," an annual compilation of data reported to the Federal Highway Administration by all U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. The Highway Statistics series, which consists of statistical data on motor fuel, motor vehicles, driver licensing, highway-user taxation, state and local government highway finance, has been produced each year since 1945.

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Page last modified on September 14, 2012.
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000