How Much Do Americans Drive? (Infographic)
Did you know that the average miles driven per year by drivers in the US are at an all-time high?
Research shows Americans drive 13,474 miles per year — equivalent to more than four roundtrip drives from New York to Dallas. This is also an important fact to know if you plan to lease a car since most lessors impose a yearly or monthly mileage allowance for the car that is being leased.
While driving has always been the primary mode of transportation, Americans today rely on their private vehicles more than ever. That said, the enthusiasm for driving is not shared equally between genders and across age groups.
Let’s look under the hood to find out who’s driving, how much, and where.
Average Miles Driven per Year — Quick Overview
- Across all age groups, 84.6% of Americans have a driver’s license.
- Americans drive 13,474 miles per year on average.
- American males drive 16,550 miles per year, compared to the female average of just 10,412.
- 1.35 million people lost their lives and up to 50 million suffer injuries every year in road accidents worldwide.
- Speed-related crashes cost Americans $40.4 billion each year.
Annual mileage of US residents and cost of gasoline
1. The average US resident drives 13,476 miles per year and spends about $1,262 on gasoline.
Driving a gasoline-powered car, Americans spend about $1,262 per year driving 13,476 miles, which is the average annual mileage for a US resident.
Taking into account the average miles per gallon, driving an electric-powered car may save Americans a significant amount of money.
Average Mileage per Year in the US
Have you ever wondered how the annual mileage has changed over the years? Or how many licensed drivers are there in the US? Or what percentage of the US population owns a driver’s license?
Well, here are the answers to these questions and more.
2) The number of miles driven by Americans is rising consistently since 2015.
Americans are now driving more miles per year than ever. In case you are wondering “how many miles does the average person drive a year?”, the answer is 13,474.
However, Americans have not always been so mobile. The number of miles driven topped off around 10,120 in 2004 after rising consistently for almost 60 years. After 2004, the number of driving miles started to decline in almost every state. Americans rediscovered their passion for driving in 2015, putting a record 3.15 trillion miles on their vehicles that year. Since then, the average miles per year on a car has been rising consistently.
3) There were over 225 million licensed drivers in the US in 2017; the number of registered drivers in the US increased by 3.6% every year.
The number of licensed drivers in 2017 was more than 225 million, an increase of roughly 4 million over 2016. At around 26.8 million, California issued the maximum number of licenses, followed by Texas (17.1 million), and Florida (15.1 million).
4) American teens, however, are getting fewer licenses and are driving less.
The average miles driven per year by teenagers is the lowest across all age groups. What’s more, research also shows that while the total number of licensed drivers in the US is rising consistently, the number of 16-year-old drivers is at its all-time lowest. According to the latest available data, there were just 1.08 million drivers aged 16 years or less in 2014, compared to 1.59 million of such drivers in 2007.
5) Drivers older than 85 years are the fastest-growing demographic group.
While teenagers as a group seem to have put the breaks on their average miles per year, more grandpas and grandmas are hitting the open road than ever. Research shows drivers over 85 have nearly doubled from 1.76 million in 1998 to 3.4 million in 2013.
6) 84.6% of Americans have a driver’s license
Across all age groups, 84.6% of Americans possess a driver’s license. The age bracket with the highest number of drivers by percentage is 50 to 69. Roughly 92% of people in this age group own a driver’s license.
Annual Mileage by Age
Arguably, young people have more free time on their hands, and as such should be clocking more miles than other age groups. But is that the case? Let’s find out.
7) Middle-aged drivers log the most miles.
Surprise, surprise, it’s the middle-aged individuals, not the young people, who log the most miles. Research reveals that people between 35 and 55 years of age drive an average of 15,291 miles per year.
8) Teens have the lowest average annual car mileage.
Once a rite of passage, driving is perhaps proving to be too costly for today’s teens. Or maybe they are not as interested in driving as their elders. Whatever the reason, research shows people aged between 16 and 19 years have the lowest annual mileage across all age groups — only 7,624 miles.
9) People between 20 and 34 years of age have the second-highest annual mileage.
The average annual mileage driven for this age group is 15,098. That’s just about a percentage less than the age group with the highest annual mileage.
10) People between 55 and 64 years of age put in 11.972 miles behind the wheel each year.
People in the 55–64 age group have the third-highest annual mileage on average in the US.
11) Over-65s are putting 7,646 miles on their cars per year on average.
Research shows that people over 65 are hitting the road more often than the previous generations of seniors. Arguably, this is because Americans are living longer — and perhaps healthier — than their grandparents. Or maybe the growing physical distance between families is the real reason behind their logging more miles per year. Whatever the case, one thing is certain: Americans like it behind the wheel, even in their golden years.
Average Miles Driven in a Year by State
Americans are driving more than ever, but this uptick is not spread evenly among the states. Some states have significantly higher vehicle miles driven per licensed driver than others.
12) Wyoming has the highest miles driven per licensed driver in a year, whereas Alaska has the lowest.
Wyoming’s average is more than two times that of Alaska’s. The residents of Wyoming have an average annual mileage of 21,821, whereas Alaskans log in just 9,915 miles. Perhaps snow-covered roads are partly the reason why Alaska’s annual mileage is the lowest in the US.
13) Georgia comes second in the list of states with most miles driver per year, followed by Oklahoma.
Georgia earns the second spot with an average of 18,920 miles per driver while Oklahoma is a close third at 18,891 miles. Not unsurprisingly, densely populated states such as New York, California, and Florida have below-average miles per year; New York 11,871 miles; California 14,435 miles; and Florida 11,836.
14) Massachusetts is the safest US state for drivers, and North Dakota the most dangerous.
Car accident statistics reveal that Massachusetts is the best state to drive in with only 0.048 fatalities per 1000 drivers. On the other hand, at 0.256 deaths per 1000 drivers, North Dakota is the worst state for drivers.
15) Hells Canyon Road, Idaho, is the best place to drive in the US.
If there’s one drive you wouldn’t want to miss out on in your life, this is it. This 22-mile long road features breathtaking mountains, canyons, and rural towns.
16) Norfolk, Virginia, is the worst place to drive in the US.
Whether you’re an experienced driver with high average miles driven per month or a raw beginner, there’s one place you might not want to drive in — Norfolk. A combination of bad traffic, a high incident rate, and a high crime rate make it an unfavorable place for drivers.
What’s more, if you love being behind the wheel, you might want to move to Raleigh, North Carolina. An independent survey judged it the best city for driving, based on its superlative performance on important parameters, such as the cost of car ownership, traffic and infrastructure, access to vehicles, and safety.
Miles Driven in America vs. The World
17) Americans have a higher average yearly mileage than anyone else in the world.
Americans drive 13,476 miles per year on average, which is nearly 30% more than Canadians, who are second on the list at 9,562. Other car-dependent countries include Australia (8,555), Italy (8,256), and France (7,424).
18) The US is ranked 25th in the world by the number of cars per person.
American loves cars. As the previous stats show their average car mileage is significantly higher than that of the rest of the world. Yet, Americans own fewer cars per person than almost all other developed countries. With 439 cars for every 1000 people, the US is ranked 25th in the world by the number of passenger cars per capita, behind the UK, France, Germany, and even crisis-wracked Greece.
19) The minimum driving age in some US states, such as Montana and Idaho, is as low as 16 years.
In the US, the minimum driving age is set on a state level. Some states like Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, and South Dakota allow 16-year-olds to drive. That said, US teens’ average car mileage per year is not very high. In fact, with 7,624 miles per year, American teenagers drive much less than other age groups. Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that most US states require you to be either 17 or 18 years to obtain a driver’s license. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, 78% of countries have set 18 years as the minimum driving age.
How Many Miles a Year Do Motorists Drive?
20). Some sources say “average” motorcycle use is between 2,000 and 3,000 miles a year, with mileage on touring bikes in the 5,000 – 6,000-mile range.
Many people ask, “how many miles does a motorcycle last for on average?” The “average” motorcycle use is between 2,000 and 3,000 miles per year, which translates to roughly 4,000 average km per year.
Motorcycles such as touring bikes have a mileage of between 5,000 to 6,000 miles per year due to their longer travel routes. So, what is high mileage for a motorcycle? Anything over 3,000 miles per year for “average” motorcycles and anything over 6,000 miles per year for touring bikes can be considered high mileage.
How Many More Cars Are on US Roads Every Year?
21). In the 4th quarter of 2019, there were some 279.6 million vehicles operating on roads throughout the United States. The number of vehicles in operation increased by around 1.6% between the 4th quarter of 2018 and the 4th quarter of 2019.
The total number of operational vehicles on US roads between the 4th quarter of 2018 and the 4th quarter of 2019 increased by around 1.6%. This equated to about 279.6 million vehicles operating on roads throughout the United States in the 4th quarter of 2019.
How Many New Cars are Sold in the US Each Year?
22) Automakers sold more than 17 million vehicles in the US for a 5th consecutive year in 2019.
There were more than 17 million new vehicles sold by automakers in 2019. This marked the 5th consecutive year in which the automakers sold over 17 million vehicles in the United States.
What is the average daily mileage?
23) Residents of the United States drive more than 37 miles per day, nearly twice as much as the average Swedish citizen.
The average daily mileage of a United States resident is much higher than that of most European citizens. For instance, the average miles driven per day by a US resident are more than 37, which is almost twice as much as the average miles driven per day by an average Swedish citizen.
Average Miles per Year by Gender
Even though many think American women spend just as much time behind the wheel as men do, that’s not the case. Research conclusively proves that when it comes to driving, men are in the lead.
24) Men pay more for their annual car insurance because in comparison they drive more miles than women.
When it comes to male vs female drivers, there seems to be a significant gender gap in terms of mileage and subsequent risks involved. Hence the difference in insurance costs. The gender gap in annual mileage between genders of the same demographic seems to increase with age.
The average US man drives 16,550 miles a year and when we compare this to female drivers’ statistics, the average US woman drives only 10,142 miles a year.
This means men are spending 63% more time driving. This puts them at a much higher risk of experiencing a car accident. It also means that men pay more than women for their annual car insurance costs.
25) Men spend 19% more time behind the wheel than women.
There you have it. American men are taking the wheel much more often than women.
26) Men put in 63% more miles per year than women in the US.
Not only are American men spending more of their time driving, but they are also driving a lot more (than women). If you are wondering, “how many miles in a year does an average American male log in?”, the answer is 16,550 miles. Women, on the other hand, drive just 10,142 miles per year. Combined with the previous stat, this also implies that men are driving much faster compared to women.
27) Yet men don’t pay more for car insurance than women.
Men drive more miles than women on average. Given this fact, they should be paying more for car insurance — right? However, research shows that the rates are similar for both. While men pay $735 for a 6-month policy on average, women shell out $740.
Which Demographic Drives the Highest Average Miles Per Year?
28) On average US men aged 35 to 54 drive 18,858 miles annually. This group has the highest average miles per year.
Studying the gender gap and demographics, we can conclude that American men between the ages of 35 and 54 drive the highest average miles per year at 18,858 miles. Whereas American women of the same age demographic drive an average of only 11,464 miles per year.
These numbers decline for both genders past this age bracket. American men peak their average annual miles in this age bracket and American women peak at 12,004 miles annually between the age bracket of 20 to 34 years.
Annual Mileage and Road Safety
Road safety statistics reveal that 40,000 Americans lost their lives to car crashes in 2018. If you find this stat disturbing, you might want to keep the following important facts in mind when you hit the open road next time.
29) 22% of vehicular crashes in the US are weather-related.
Out of the 6 million vehicular accidents that occur in the US every year, just over 1.2 million (or about 22%) involve hazardous weather. So take the cue and resist the urge to take your car out in bad weather.
30) Speeding statistics reveal that speeding killed 9,717 people in 2017.
Speeding accounted for 26% of all traffic-related deaths in 2017. Need we say more as to why each of us must respect the speed limits?
31) Alcohol-impaired driving accounts for nearly 10,950 deaths per year.
To put this into perspective, nearly 30 people lose their lives every day — one every 30 minutes almost — due to drunk driving.
32) Alcohol-impaired driving crashes account for 15% of pedestrian deaths per year.
Drunk driving, like speeding, not only puts the life of the guilty party at risk but also endangers the lives of everyone else on that road.
33) 95% of vehicular crashes are caused by human error.
Experts say that simple things such as wearing a seat belt, paying attention to the road, or respecting the speed limit can significantly lower the risk of a road accident. However, research shows that the majority of drivers involved in mishaps neglect to do these very things.
Are you driving more in 2019 compared to last year? For most Americans, regardless of their gender, age, and location, the answer is an unambiguous “yes.”
As a result, higher average miles driven per year rates push up the cost of car insurance available; the more you drive, the greater your chances of being in an accident.
However, the opposite is also true. You can save on high-quality car insurance by driving fewer miles. Most auto insurers offer low mileage discounts, ranging from 5 to 15%, for driving not more than the predefined limit; typically 10,000 or 7,500 miles.
You can also lower your insurance cost by following top road safety features. And that, you will surely agree, is priceless.
Is 15,000 miles a year a lot?
15,000 miles a year is not a lot. In fact, it is considered the average by industry standards. It is, however, slightly lower than the annual average miles driven by American men across all age groups and slightly higher than the annual average miles driven by American women of all age groups.
How many miles should a 2020 car have?
A new 2020 car can have anything under 200 miles, which is acceptable given transportation from the shipping dock to the showroom. A used 2020 car depends on many factors including maintenance, model, and condition but the average range should be between 12,000 to 15,000 miles per year.
Is 20,000 miles a year a lot?
20,000 miles a year can be considered a lot given the average miles driven by both, American men and women. Additionally, 20,000 miles a year on a car can easily be considered high but it all depends on maintenance. If a car is well maintained, 20,000 miles a year may not matter too much.
How many miles is normal to drive in a year?
If we consider all United States demographics, the normal miles to drive in a year are around 13,500 miles.
Should I buy a car with 150k miles?
The average lifespan of recent cars is about 150k miles or eight years. This means that buying a car with 150k miles is not a bad choice as long as you know its condition, maintenance history, and understand the costs involved.
Cars have been known to perform all right well beyond 300k miles if they do not have serious problems and are properly maintained.