Americans are spending more time than ever behind the wheel

March 1, 2019

Since 2014, Americans have collectively increased the amount of time spent behind the wheel. On Wednesday,  AAA, reported the results of a study showing that Americans spend 20 more minutes on average driving than they did in 2014.

Americans spent 70 billion hours driving in 2017, the latest year when data was available. The average number of miles driven also increased 5.4 percent, from 29.9 miles to 31.5 miles. On average, Americans clock 11,498 miles annually. The data further shows the typical American spends about 52 minutes driving daily. That figure is also up from 2014, when it was 48 minutes. The number of trips, once again, increased to 2.22 trips per day compared to 2.16 trips in 2014.

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Despite reports of Americans falling out of love with the idea of driving, the number of active drivers also increased in the three-year time span. In 2014, AAA estimated 222.2 million drivers were on the roads; in 2017, the figure grew to 225.8 million drivers.

Digging deeper into the study, men, on average, drive 27 percent more miles than women and spend 19 percent more time behind the wheel. Married couples and those partnered spend 12 percent more time driving than single individuals. Interestingly, older populations are driving more, too. The study found drivers aged 75 and up spend an average of eight minutes per day driving. While that's a small amount of time, the figure climbed 23 percent compared to 2014 findings.

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Breaking the information down by region, west coast drivers spend the most time behind the wheel with an average of 58.9 minutes per day. The Northeast comes in second with 51.1 minutes and the South follows in third place at 49.9 minutes. The Midwest placed last with 44.5 minutes on average spent driving. Interestingly, the number of people who reported driving in the Midwest dropped 3 percent, while every other region remained the same or saw increases.

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