Have you ever wondered how many miles the average person drives per year? Or how your driving habits compare to others in your state, age group, or gender?
Every year, the US. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration releases a report analyzing motor vehicle registrations, number of driver licenses, average car mileage, and more. We combed through the latest report and found that:
- There are now almost 229 million Americans who have licenses, and they collectively drove over 3.2 trillion miles in 2019. That’s enough to drive around the Earth over 128 million times!
- The overall number of miles driven by Americans has increased every year since 2011 and is more than double the total miles driven in 1980. This makes sense, as there are more licensed drivers and registered vehicles than ever before.
- The average driver drives around 13,500 miles per year. That’s over 1,000 miles per month!
- Americans drive more than twice as many miles in urban areas than in rural areas.
- Men tend to drive more than women across all age groups, averaging around 6,000 more miles per year.
- Younger and older individuals (16-19 year olds and 65+) tend to drive about half as many miles as typical working-age individuals.
Average miles driven per year by state
The states with the highest total miles driven per year are easy to guess, as the top 5 (California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and New York) all fall in the top 8 largest states by population.
What’s more interesting is looking at how many miles the average person drives per year in each state, which we found by dividing the total miles driven by the number of driver’s license holders in each state:
|State||Average car mileage per driver|
|District of Columbia||7,013|
As you can see, the averages vary a lot, with drivers in the District of Columbia only averaging a little over 7,000 miles per year and those in Wyoming driving almost 3.5 times more at just over 24,000 miles. Below, we’ll dig into some of the potential reasons for this huge difference.
States where people drive the most
When we look at the average miles driven per year, the following states takeing the top spots:
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
Unlike the states with the highest total miles, which are largely driven by population, these states likely boast the highest average miles because they tend to be more rural and have fewer alternate means of transportation. In fact, Wyoming — the state where people drive the most — is 99.8% rural, with a rural population density of just two people per square mile.
States where people drive the least
On the other end of the spectrum, the states who drive the fewest miles on average are:
- District of Columbia
- Rhode Island
- New York
- New Hampshire
Unsurprisingly, five of these states are home to cities with the best public transportation — Oregon (Portland), Washington (Seattle), Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.), and New York (New York City). Gas prices might also play a role, as seven of these states fall into the top 20 states with the highest gas prices. Interestingly, while Alaska is by far the largest state in terms of square miles, its drivers boast the fifth-lowest average car mileage in the country.
Average car mileage per year by age group
The Federal Highway Administration also broke down the average annual miles per driver by age group and found that:
- 16-19 year olds on average drive the fewest miles each year out of all the age groups, with those 65+ following close behind.
- The age groups that best encompass typical working ages (20-34 and 35-54) tend to drive the most. In fact, these groups drive around twice as many miles as high schoolers and senior citizens.
These statistics shouldn’t be surprising, as the average American drives 16 miles to work each way — which comes out to around 8,384 miles each year just for their commute. Since most 16-19 year olds are still in school and Americans tend to retire when they’re around 64, the oldest and youngest age groups often drive much less than typical working-age individuals.
While it can be fun to see how you compare to other drivers in your state, age group, and gender, did you know many car insurance companies use these factors to determine how much you’ll pay?
At Metromile, we think your rate should be based on your actual driving habits — which feels fairer and can actually save you money. In fact, by switching to pay per mile insurance, our customers save 47%* on average compared to what they were paying their previous auto insurer. Get a quote to see how much you could save today.
* Average annual car insurance savings by new customers surveyed who saved with Metromile in 2018.