The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Americans Spend 293 Hours Driving Each Year

September 08, 2016

Photo courtesy of AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Photo courtesy of AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

American drivers spend an average of more than 17,600 minutes — or about 293 hours — behind the wheel annually, according to a new survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

The research found that more than 87.5% of Americans 16 years and older reported driving in the past year. During this time, drivers traveled nearly 10,900 miles on average.

“The amount of time the average driver spends behind the wheel each year is equivalent to seven 40-hour weeks at the office,” said Jurek Grabowski, research director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “It’s clear that traveling by car remains a central part of Americans’ lives.”

The American Driving Survey is the most current and comprehensive look at how much Americans drive on a daily and yearly basis, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The survey revealed that Americans drove a total of 2.45 trillion miles last year, which is a 2.4% increase from 2014.

Other survey findings show that:

  • On average, men report driving 2,314 more miles than women per year and spend 18% more time behind the wheel.
  • More than 86% of U.S. households have at least one car for every driver in the home, and 28% report having more cars than drivers.
  • Seniors over the age of 75 drive fewer miles (5,840 annually) than teenagers (7,551 annually). People ages 30-49 drive an average of 13,506 miles annually, more than any other age group.
  • Drivers who report living in rural areas drive more miles (13,029 annually) compared to drivers who live in cities or towns (10,571 annually).
  • Motorists in the Midwest and Southern regions drive more (11,295 miles annually) compared to those in the Northeast (9,328 miles annually).
  • More than 50% of miles driven by Americans are logged in cars, followed by SUVs (20%), pickup trucks (17%) and vans (7.9%). Men reported doing a much greater share of their driving in pickup trucks compared to women who reported doing most of their driving in cars and SUVs.
  • More than 66% of total driving trips and nearly 62% of total miles driven are accumulated by motorists without a passenger in the vehicle. Women are 24% more likely than men to have a passenger in the vehicle on any given trip.
  • On average, Americans drive the most during the fall (October through December) at 31.5 miles daily and drive the least during the winter (January through March) at 26.2 miles daily. 

The survey data are from a sample of 5,774 drivers who provided information about their daily driving trips in calendar years 2014 and 2015. 

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