U.S. drivers putting on ever fewer miles

Aug. 13, 2008 at 11:41 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- Americans are keeping their cars in park more than ever, sending total miles driven lower for the eighth month in a row, federal transportation officials say.

The U.S. Transportation Department said Wednesday drivers racked up 12.2 billion fewer miles in June than in the same month of 2007, The Wall Street Journal reported. Since November, the decline totals 53.2 billion miles, the business newspaper said.

That even worse than the drop experienced in the gas-crunch of the 1970s when there was a 49.3 billion-mile decline.

Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said the trend means policymakers need to rethink how the nation's transportation network is funded.

"We can't afford to continue pinning our transportation network's future to the gas tax," Peters said. "Advances in higher fuel-efficiency vehicles and alternative fuels are making the gas tax an even less sustainable support for funding roads, bridges and transit systems."

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