By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. drivers logged 8.8% fewer miles in October as millions of Americans continue to work from home and avoid travel and tourism destinations during the coronavirus pandemic.
The U.S. Transportation Department said drivers on American roads in October drove 259 billion miles, down 25 billion miles over the same month last year. Through the first 10 months of the year U.S. driving has fallen 13.9%, down 380.7 billion miles, to 2.35 trillion miles.
U.S. driving for the year is on pace to be the lowest in nearly two decades.
Driving fell the most in the northeast in October, where it was down 11.5% and fel1 10.4% in north central states.
The reduction in October was larger than an 8.6% decline in September, which had been the highest month for driving since the pandemic began, and came as coronavirus cases began to increase.
Other data suggests driving fell further in November.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) said in November that motor vehicle gasoline consumption fell by 2.8% over October and was down 10.6% over November 2019, or about 1 million barrels per day less than last year.
Historically gasoline demand has declined by an average of 1.7% between October and November, so the decrease “likely represented less Thanksgiving holiday driving due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” API said.
Conduent Inc said last week that traffic volumes on several of the nation’s largest toll road systems fell 8.7% in November, based on data from electronic toll transactions.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Richard Pullin)