In case you were wondering – the results are in – Americans are now the owners of more vehicles and drive more miles than they ever have. Taking just those two factors into consideration, it also means some Americans may be paying more for their auto insurance than ever before as well – especially when auto insurers regard the number of miles you drive as a way to determine the size of your annual premium. The more you drive, the more the risk of a ticket or an accident – hence, the higher the rates.
While the Recession of 2008-09 caused some so-called experts to suggest that the great American love affair with cars was cooling down as supposedly evidenced by a variety of statistics, it appears those assumptions may have been premature. Just because it appeared Americans weren’t interested in driving as much; young adults were shunning cars and even driver’s licenses, the end of the driving era was not to be – at least for now.
Those naysayers have, in effect, been proven wrong. Truth is, not only are Americans buying cars at a healthy pace, but official records show there are currently more registered vehicles in America than ever before. And, according to the latest data of this year’s summer travels, U.S. motorists are driving a record number of miles on the road.
The first indicator comes from IHS Automotive, which tracks vehicle registrations nationwide. Their data showed that the total number of “light” vehicles in operation – passenger cars, SUV and light trucks – hit a staggering 257.9 million as of January 1st, 2015, a jump of 2.1 percent from the previous year. The jump is the largest IHS has recorded to date, driven by a combination of surging new-vehicle sales and a steep decline in vehicles sent to the scrap heap.
Furthermore, IHS predicts the pool of vehicles that are at least 12 years old will grow by 15 percent between now and 2020, thanks in part to a more durable product and improved engineering. Notwithstanding, the economy has also put more drivers back on the road.
Although falling sharply during the recession, the federal government’s tracking of miles driven per month has grown steadily. Case in point, in May it hit 275.1 billion miles and, over the past 12 months, the U.S. Department of Transportation estimates Americans have driven approximately 3.08 trillion miles. The total is a new high that now surpasses the mark reached in 2007 just before the global financial crisis.
The bounce back can be attributed to other factors in addition to the improved economy. In fact, other related factors, including lower unemployment, creative financing from auto makers, and cheaper gas, have also spurred car buying and driving from commuting to an increase in pleasure driving.
So, it appears America’s love affair with cars is still alive and well. But, the future is unpredictable and, if the number of registered vehicles continues to grow at a rapid pace, our roads may become too congested for us to enjoy.
It goes without saying that no one enjoys paying more for auto insurance than they should. Don’t settle for high premiums when you can get the best auto insurance rates available. Why not get a free auto insurance quote comparison today?
Do you own more vehicles and drive more miles than you have in the past? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.