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March Total US Vehicle Miles Jump to Revisit Pre-Pandemic Levels: US Data

March Total US Vehicle Miles Jump to Revisit Pre-Pandemic Levels: US Data

Total U.S. vehicle-miles in March soared to a 15-month high, returning for the
first time to levels last seen before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,
according to the latest Traffic Volume Trends data compiled by the
U.S.Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Total March U.S. vehicle miles, which measure travel on all public roads and
streets, totaled 263.0 billion, the largest since December 2019 when the total
was 272.2 billion, according to FHWA data.

March's total includes 79.6 billion vehicle miles on rural roads, and 183.3
billion on urban roads and streets. February's total comprised 60.7 billion
vehicle miles on rural roads and 144.7 billion on urban roads and streets.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, March's U.S. vehicle miles were 261.1 billion,
representing a 6.2% gain over those in February 2021, the largest monthly gain
since June of last year.

Higher U.S. vehicle miles were boosted by sharp gains in all five regions
monitored by the FHWA, with the Northeast surging by more than one third to33.9
billion in March versus 25.2 billion in February.

Seasonally adjusted March's vehicle miles at 261.1 billion, however, were
behind the 271.5 billion in March 2019, FHWA data show. Seasonal adjustments
involve estimating and removing regular seasonal factors to make smoother
month-to-month comparisons.

According to OPIS DemandPro data, U.S. average gasoline volumes in March 2021
on a same-store basis were up 2.3% versus March 2020 levels.

Versus March 2019 (two years ago), however, March 2021 same-store sales were
16.7% lower, according to OPIS data.

The marked increase in March U.S. vehicle miles reflects the robust U.S.
coronavirus vaccination program and sharply lower overall COVID-19 cases, which
prompted more Americans to travel and spend on vacation trips after living
under pandemic restrictions for a year.

Continued success in vaccination and ongoing decreases in COVID-19 infections,
at least for April and May, should bode well for vehicle miles for the rest of

According to the latest OPIS Demand Report that surveys more than 25,000 gas
stations across the country, average U.S. station gasoline volumes for the week
ending May 15 were off by only 6.6% from the same week in 2019. During the
week, gasoline demand in the Southeast was 0.3% higher than two years ago, the
only region to be positive versus the same week in 2019.

Traffic Volume Trends is a monthly report based on hourly traffic count data
collected at about 5,000 continuous traffic-counting locations nationwide and
submitted by all 50 states, according to the FHWA.

--Reporting by Frank Tang,; Editing by Michael Kelly,

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