By Micheline Maynard
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group has been among those tracking the change in American driving habits. On Thursday, the group issued a new study showing that driving has dropped in almost every state.
What’s more, driving hasn’t rebounded along with the economy. The federal government recently released statistics for the first half of 2013 showing that people are spending less time on the road, even though unemployment is dropping and things are picking up.
According to the USPIRG study, driving is down in 46 states plus the District of Columbia since the driving peaks of 2004 and 2005.
Ten states showed double digit declines in driving: Alaska, Delaware, Oregon, Georgia, Florida, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, D.C., Indiana and South Carolina.
Driving is up in just four states — Nevada, Louisiana, North Dakota and Alabama, according to USPIRG. One of the reason for the increase is that those states have experienced a flurry of economic activity, although in the case of Nevada and Louisiana, some of it was because of bad news.
In Louisiana’s case, the period since 2005 includes Hurricane Katrina, which struck the state eight years ago this week. In Nevada’s case, the bursting of the housing bubble in Las Vegas and Reno led to people packing up and moving out of the state.
North Dakota’s economy has been jumping, due to the expansion of energy development, and Alabama has seen a rise in activity as auto companies and auto parts makers built and expanded factories there.
Take a look at the USPIRG study. We’d like to know if driving is down, or up, where you live and whether that mirrors your experience.