Americans keep driving their cars

American drivers spend an average of 17,600 minutes behind the wheel each year, according to a new survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

The research finds that more than 87.5 percent of Americans aged 16 years and older reported driving in the past year. During this time, drivers travelled nearly 10,900 miles on average and spent more than 290 hours on the road.  “The amount of time the average driver spends behind the wheel each year is equivalent to seven 40-hour weeks at the office,” says Jurek Grabowski, research director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

The American Driving Survey revealed that Americans drove a total of 2.45 trillion miles last year, which is a 2.4 percent increase from 2014. Other survey findings show that:

  • On average, men report driving 2,314 more miles than women per year and spend 18 percent more time behind the wheel.
  • More than 86 percent of U.S. households have at least one car for every driver in the home and 28 percent report having more cars than drivers.
  • Seniors over the age of 75 drive fewer miles (5,840 annually) than teenagers (7,551 annually). Drivers ages 30-49 drive an average of 13,506 miles annually, more than any other age group.
  • Drivers who report living in rural areas drive more miles (13,029 annually) than drivers who live in cities or towns (10,571 annually).
  • Motorists in the Midwest and Southern regions drive more (11,295 miles annually) than those in the Northeast (9,328 miles annually).
  • More than 50 percent of miles driven by Americans are done in cars, followed by SUVs (20 percent), pickup trucks (17 percent) and vans (7.9 percent). Men report doing a much greater share of their driving in pickup trucks compared to women who report doing most of their driving in cars and SUVs.
  • Over 66 percent of total driving trips and nearly 62 percent of total miles driven are done by drivers without a passenger in the vehicle. Women are 24 percent more likely than men to have a passenger in the vehicle on any given trip.
  • On average, Americans drive the most during the fall (October through December) at 31.5 miles daily per driver and the least during the winter (January through March) at 26.2 miles daily.

The survey data are from a sample of 5,774 drivers who provided information about their daily driving trips in calendar years 2014 and 2015.