Fact #842: October 13, 2014 Vehicles and Vehicle Travel Trends have Changed Since 2008

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As the U.S. population has doubled from 1950 to 2012, the number of vehicles has grown nearly 6-fold and vehicle travel even more than that. The number of vehicles and vehicle travel peaked in 2007 and 2008, respectively, and remained at similar levels in 2012. The growth in licensed drivers has not kept the pace with the growth of vehicle miles traveled reflecting that the average driver is driving more miles in 2012 than in 1950. However, the trends have changed for vehicle miles traveled and number of vehicles in operation. Since 2008 the amount of travel and number of vehicles has increased far less quickly than in the previous 50 years.

Population and Vehicle Growth Comparison, 1950-2012
Graph showing population and vehicle growth comparison from 1950 to 2012. Graph shows resident population, number of households, number of licensed drivers, number of vehicles in operation, and total vehicle miles traveled.

Fact #842 Dataset

Supporting Information

Population and Vehicle Growth Comparison, 1950-2012
Year Resident Population Number of Households Number of Vehicles in Operation Total Vehicle Miles Traveled Number of Licensed Drivers
1950 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00
1951 1.01 Not available 1.07 1.07 1.04
1952 1.03 Not available 1.11 1.12 1.07
1953 1.05 Not available 1.17 1.19 1.12
1954 1.07 Not available 1.22 1.23 1.16
1955 1.09 1.10 1.30 1.32 1.20
1956 1.11 1.12 1.36 1.38 1.25
1957 1.13 1.14 1.41 1.41 1.28
1958 1.15 1.16 1.44 1.45 1.31
1959 1.17 1.18 1.51 1.53 1.36
1960 1.19 1.21 1.56 1.57 1.40
1961 1.20 1.23 1.61 1.61 1.43
1962 1.22 1.26 1.66 1.67 1.46
1963 1.24 1.27 1.73 1.76 1.50
1964 1.26 1.29 1.80 1.85 1.54
1965 1.27 1.32 1.89 1.94 1.58
1966 1.29 1.34 1.97 2.02 1.62
1967 1.30 1.36 2.02 2.10 1.66
1968 1.32 1.38 2.09 2.22 1.69
1969 1.33 1.43 2.19 2.32 1.74
1970 1.35 1.46 2.26 2.42 1.79
1971 1.37 1.49 2.34 2.57 1.84
1972 1.38 1.53 2.44 2.75 1.90
1973 1.40 1.57 2.56 2.87 1.95
1974 1.41 1.60 2.66 2.79 2.02
1975 1.42 1.63 2.76 2.90 2.09
1976 1.44 1.67 2.86 3.06 2.16
1977 1.45 1.70 2.95 3.20 2.22
1978 1.47 1.75 3.07 3.37 2.26
1979 1.48 1.78 3.16 3.34 2.30
1980 1.50 1.85 3.21 3.33 2.34
1981 1.51 1.89 3.26 3.39 2.36
1982 1.53 1.92 3.31 3.48 2.42
1983 1.54 1.93 3.38 3.61 2.48
1984 1.56 1.96 3.50 3.75 2.50
1985 1.57 1.99 3.61 3.87 2.52
1986 1.58 2.03 3.73 4.00 2.56
1987 1.60 2.05 3.84 4.19 2.60
1988 1.61 2.09 3.95 4.42 2.62
1989 1.63 2.13 4.04 4.58 2.66
1990 1.65 2.14 4.12 4.68 2.69
1991 1.67 2.17 4.17 4.74 2.72
1992 1.69 2.20 4.17 4.90 2.78
1993 1.71 2.21 4.28 5.01 2.78
1994 1.73 2.23 4.34 5.14 2.82
1995 1.76 2.27 4.45 5.29 2.84
1996 1.78 2.29 4.56 5.42 2.89
1997 1.80 2.32 4.62 5.59 2.94
1998 1.82 2.35 4.71 5.74 2.97
1999 1.84 2.38 4.82 5.87 3.01
2000 1.86 2.40 4.90 5.99 3.07
2001 1.88 2.48 4.98 6.10 3.08
2002 1.90 2.51 5.08 6.23 3.12
2003 1.91 2.55 5.19 6.31 3.15
2004 1.93 2.57 5.34 6.47 3.20
2005 1.95 2.60 5.48 6.52 3.22
2006 1.97 2.63 5.62 6.58 3.26
2007 1.99 2.66 5.72 6.61 3.31
2008 2.01 2.68 5.74 6.50 3.35
2009 2.02 2.69 5.72 6.45 3.37
2010 2.04 2.70 5.71 6.48 3.38
2011 2.05 2.72 5.72 6.44 3.41
2012 2.07 2.78 5.78 6.48 3.41

Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Transportation Energy Data Book: Edition 33, July 2014, ORNL-6990, Table 8.1.

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