Average Miles Driven Per Year by State [Infographic]

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Jun 9, 2021

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What You Should Know

  • Americans drive an average of 13,476 miles per year
  • States with low population density drive the most
  • COVID-19 caused people to drive less than they normally would, impacting overall driving rates.

Due to the massive geographic scale and the urban sprawl of American cities, we have a higher average yearly mileage than anyone else in the world. In fact, we drive an average of 13,476 miles per year, which is more than 30% more than our northern neighbors in Canada, who are second with 9,562.1  

But how many miles does the average person drive per year? 

How do these numbers break down by demographics? 

If you have any average annual mileage questions about daily miles that could be put on your new Toyota Prius for the car insurance company or what to expect before you sign your new car lease- you have come to the right place.  This infographic will answer all of your burning questions about the average miles driven per year so you can get the best auto insurance rate. 

 

Our Sourcing and a Note on COVID-19

For the most accurate information, the vast majority of sourcing in this document is pulled from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration Highway Statistics Survey of 2019

This is the most recent year where a comprehensive study was completed and where driving habits were unaffected by the global pandemic. Naturally, COVID dramatically reduced the number of miles driven in the country.  Since the average American became a low mileage driver due to the stay-at-home order, we can expect high mileage for an average driver within the next few years. 

Going forward, all driving behavior trends point to the notion that once normal life resumes, the driving mileage will parallel (if not exceed) pre-COVID rates.  

What Is the Average Car Mileage Per Year Per State? 

Americans drive more than any developed nation on earth, covering more than 3 trillion miles per year. But how much they drive depends on the state in which they live. Some states drive less in total on aggregate, but their citizens average more miles per driver.

Additionally, how much they spend on that car mileage varies greatly. For example, the average cost of fuel in California was $4.00, while the average in North Dakota was $2.78 per gallon.

StateAverage Miles Per DriverTotal MilesCost of Regular Fuel
Alabama17,81771 billion$2.63
Alaska11,1115.8 billion$3.17
Arizona13,09070 billion$3.05
Arkansas17,22437 billion$2.68
California12,524340 billion$4.00
Colorado12,89954 billion$2.96
Connecticut12,11731 billion$2.96
Delaware12,60910 billion$2.75
Florida14,557226 billion$2.79
Georgia18,334133 billion$2.70
Hawaii11,68811 billion$3.77
Idaho14,41718 billion$3.13
Illinois12,581107 billion$3.08
Indiana18,02482 billion$2.79
Iowa14,74533 billion$2.78
Kansas14,78131 billion$2.73
Kentucky16,30549 billion$2.73
Louisiana14,95151 billion$2.60
Maine14,21514 billion$2.83
Maryland13,49060 billion$2.81
Massachusetts13,10964 billion$2.77
Michigan14,307102 billion$2.82
Minnesota17,90960 billion$2.73
Mississippi19,96641 billion$2.57
Missouri18,52179 billion$2.66
Montana15,88012 billion$2.81
Nebraska14,84621 billion$2.81
Nevada14,01628 billion$3.46
New Hampshire11,57013 billion$2.73
New Jersey12,26378 billion$2.92
New Mexico19,15727 billion$2.86
New York10,167123 billion$2.92
North Carolina16,073122 billion$2.63
North Dakota17,6719 billion$2.78
Ohio14,278114 billion$2.81
Oklahoma17,69944 billion$2.66
Oregon12,21835 billion$3.25
Pennsylvania11,445102 billion$3.00
Rhode Island9,9617 billion$2.81
South Carolina14,94157 billion$2.59
South Dakota15,5419 billion$2.85
Tennessee15,28782 billion$2.69
Texas16,172288 billion$2.58
Utah15,51632 billion$3.17
Vermont13,0047 billion$2.81
Virginia14,50985 billion$2.70
Washington10,94962 billion$3.42
West Virginia16,87619 billion$2.78
Wisconsin15,44266 billion$2.73
Wyoming24,06910 billion$2.93

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States with the Most Driving

Although it’s not always the case, generally speaking, the more sparsely populated a state is, the longer and more frequently a person will need to drive. 

States where people drive the most include: 

  1. Wyoming – 24,069 miles per driver
  2. Mississippi – 19,966  miles per driver
  3. New Mexico – 19,157 miles per driver
  4. Missouri – 18,521  miles per driver
  5. Georgia – 18,334  miles per driver

These states have a relatively low population density and could be considered rural. States like Wyoming and New Mexico rank amongst the least population-dense states.   

States with the Least Driving 

Looking to live in a state where low mileage car insurance is the norm? Naturally factors like fuel prices, state geography, and population density impact mileage rates. For instance, many of the largely urban northeastern states along the Acela corridor don’t need to drive as much due to tighter geographic proximity and less urban sprawl. This makes it easier to have and use a public transit system, which reduces the need to drive.  

States that drive the least include: 

  1. Rhode Island – 9,961 
  2. New York – 10,167
  3. Washington – 10,949
  4. Alaska – 11,111
  5. Hawaii – 11,688

Looking at these regions, it’s easy to speculate why rates are lower. In places like New York, many citizens in NYC don’t need cars since they live in a large, walkable city with efficient public transit systems. Additionally, with places like Rhode Island and Hawaii, there’s not a lot of space to drive. 

Driving By Demographics 

Men and women don’t have the same driving behavior. Additionally, age also impacts how much a person tends to drive. Broken down by age and sex demographics, the average miles driven per American looks like:

AgeMaleFemaleTotal Average
16-198,2066,8737,624
20-3417,97612,00415,098
35-5418,85811,46415,291
55-6415,8597,78011,972
65+10,3044,7857,646
Average16,55010,14213,476

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COVID’s Impact on Driving Rates 

COVID has caused people to drive less frequently than they would in a normal year. Lockdowns and work-from-home orders reduced the frequency of necessary driving as well as vacation driving. 

For instance, even in the summer months when lockdowns laxed in many states, you can see significant differences across all regions when comparing July 2020 traffic volumes2 with July 2019 volumes:3 

  • Travel on all roads and streets reduced by -11.2% 
  • Cumulative Travel for 2020 changed by -15.7% (-297.2 billion vehicle miles)
  • The cumulative estimate for the year is 1,593.2 billion vehicle miles of travel, nearly 330 billion miles less than in 2019.

By region: 

RegionTotal travel in billions of milesPercentage change
North-East34.9-15.4
South-Atlantic57-11.3
North-Central60.0-9.7
South-Gulf52.7-10.8
West57.8-10.4

Additionally, the decrease in traffic caused by emptier roads resulted in a higher frequency of reckless driving, despite the decreased number of car accidents. According to an accident study focused on California:4 

  • Accident rates across California saw accident reductions as significant as 75%
  • Auto accidents caused by speeding had been cut in half 
  • California Highway Patrol (CHP) saw a 46% increase in tickets issued for drivers speeding at or above 100mph

Put simply, the fewer cars there were on the road, the more opportunities there were to speed. That said, with states opening up, it’s likely that 2021 will have numbers that are closer to 2019 than 2020. 

Car Mileage and Car Purchases

If you drive a lot, it’s important to have a car that is reliable, has low-cost car repairs, and comes with great gas mileage. The impact gas alone can have on your wallet is immense. 

Consider a male driver who’s 36 and living in Wyoming:

  • In 2019, on average, he drove 24,000 miles per year at a cost of $2.93 per gallon. 
  • If he drove a car that got 20 miles per gallon, he could expect to pay $3,516 in gas. 
  • However, if his car got 40 miles per gallon, he could pay half that, $1,758 in gas.  
  • Taken year over year for five years, the cost-savings between the two cars could amount to $8,790 in gas costs alone.

Not to mention, if you drive less, you can likely save money on your car insurance. 

Put simply, if you’re someone who plans on having a high driving mileage, it’s critical to consider your car’s gas mileage.

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References:

  1. Policy Advice.net. How Much Do Americans Drive? (Infographic). https://policyadvice.net/insurance/insights/how-much-do-americans-drive/#:~:text=The%20World,%2C%20and%20France%20(7%2C424).
  1. FHWA. July 2020 Traffic Volume Trends. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/travel_monitoring/20jultvt/
  1. FHWA. July 2019 Traffic Volume Trends. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/travel_monitoring/19jultvt/
  1. Maison Law. Covid-19 Impact On California Traffic, Speeding, And Safety. https://maisonlaw.com/2020/09/covid-19-impact-on-california-traffic-speeding-and-safety/
  1. U.S. Department of Transportation. Federal Highway Administration Highway Statistics Survey of 2019. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2019/
  2. Statista. The number of licensed drivers in the United States in 2019, by gender. https://www.statista.com/statistics/198017/total-number-of-us-licensed-drivers-in-2009-by-gender/

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