Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Driving in circles

The Federal Highway Administration says people drove a lot less in June this year than last year:

WASHINGTON - As summer vacation season kicked in, Americans got out of their cars, driving 12.2 billion fewer miles in June than the same month a year earlier.

The 4.7 percent decline, which came while gas prices were peaking, was the biggest monthly driving drop in a downward trend that began in November, the Federal Highway Administration said Wednesday.

Not us, of course. We took the big trip for the 4th of July that began in June. The drive from NC to ID was roughly 2,100 miles.

We head on over to the Federal Highway Administration website to find the actual figures for June – Americans drove approximately 250,232,000,000 miles in the month of June.

That means our trip accounted for around 0.0000008392212% of all the miles driven.


The total population of the United States, estimated by the US Census Bureau, is 301,621,157

That means, as a family of 4, we represent 0.0000013261669% of the overall US population.

250 billion miles divided by 301 million people means the average person drove 829.6 miles. So, take 4 average people and you have 3,318.5 miles.

Yet our family of four people just managed 2,100 miles?


Here we’ve been made to feel guilty about our carbon footprint, and yet, even in a month where we take a cross-country trip, we drove almost 37% fewer miles than an average four people in the US? Seriously, that just makes us want to go deflate our tires by six or seven pounds per square inch!

Oh, but wait – maybe we should really only look at the US population that includes persons of driving age (our kids are five and six). So, here we find that the estimate for those 16 or older is 236,468,212

Well, then.

250 billion miles divided by 236 million people means the average driving age person drove 1,058.2 miles. So, take 2 average driving age persons and you have 2,116.4 miles.

That means our trip put us right at the average number of miles driven by those of driving age.


But our 2,100 miles were accomplished by driving across the country. What did all these other people do to rack up their miles?

And where were they driving last year that this year’s number was 4.7% less?


And before you lob the accusation that we must have too much time on our hands to go to that much trouble to make almost no point – if you are still reading this post, do you really have standing to cast the first stone?


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