Miles Driven in May Show Steep Decline, Transportation Dept. Says

ABC News’ Kate Barrett reports: People drove almost 10 billion fewer miles in May 2008 than in May 2007, according to new numbers released this morning from the Department of Transportation.

The month of May usually brings a surge in vehicle traffic as summer kicks off and families celebrate Memorial Day. But not this year. May’s drop in traffic was the third-steepest monthly decline since record keeping began. (Travel in May 2008 was 254.7 billion miles, according to the Transportation Department. )

In fact, May has never seen such a drop off in miles driven. Often, large decreases in traffic come in December rather than at the start of the summer. Of all areas of the country, the data shows that people continue to drive most in the nation’s north central states.

While driving less may mean spending less money at the gas station, it also means fewer dollars are being pumped into the Highway Trust Fund.

Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters said Monday that the data collected from the Federal Highway Administration provides evidence that the way in which America funds its infrastructure needs to shift. She said the government needs to look at funding highways and bridges in alternative, sustainable ways rather than relying on the gas tax.

Tell ABC News how you are dealing with high gas prices.

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