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Average Miles Driven Each Year

Average miles driven each year - featured. Close up of the mileage distance on a car dashboard

Do you know how many miles you drive per year? We explain the reasons you should

Whether you’re a daily commuter, jump in the car only occasionally, or frequently take long road trips, knowing the average miles you cover annually can be useful, not least because the distance travelled informs a number of motoring decisions.

From your insurance costs to your choice of vehicle, knowing your annual mileage can help you make smarter choices when it comes to purchases. So, how do you compare to the average American motorist? Do you live in an area with great transport links that mean you don’t have to hop in the car for every trip? Does the rising cost of fuel mean you keep your car journeys only to those strictly necessary? And do older people drive more often than teens?

Here, we take a deep dive into the average miles driven in the US per year, drilling down to discover trends in age, gender, and location.

The average mileage per year

Most recent data from the US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration shows that the average miles driven per year is 13,476 miles. That’s a significant increase on the previous year, and a huge 14% more than the distance travelled by drivers in 2020; the need to remain at home during the pandemic meant that figures were drastically lower that year. Regardless, the latest figures still show a big drop in miles travelled per year since before the pandemic; in 2017, the average distance per year was 17,815.

If we break this down per month, the average American drove 1,123 miles – amounting to roughly 36.9 miles every day. If we combine the total mileage of all US drivers for the year, vehicles travelled a huge 3.2 trillion miles across our roadways.

Does 13,476 miles by an individual seem like a lot? If you live somewhere with good public transport, or don’t have to worry about a lengthy commute, then driving almost 40 miles a day may seem excessive. Insurers generally expect daily commuters to travel 20 miles each way, so this works out.

Is your average mileage higher?

If your annual mileage is significantly more than the average driver, you may find yourself at a disadvantage. Your annual mileage reflects how much time you spend on the road, and therefore how much more at risk you are of being involved in an accident, with insurers adjusting their premiums accordingly. And if you do find yourself in a position where you have to make a claim on a policy with significantly under-estimated mileage than you’ve been insured for, then this could become an expensive headache to deal with.

The average mileage by gender

Does it matter if you’re male or female when it comes to mileage? Apparently, yes. Insurers will often take gender into consideration when offering a new policy – and it’s because the statistics imply that men are on the road more than women. Latest figures show that men drove 16,550 miles, compared to just 10,142 for women. These figures get even more interesting when we look at particular age groups; males aged 35-54 are far and away the heaviest road users, totalling 18,858 miles a year, while only 4,785 miles were driven by females 65+. But it isn’t only the fact that men drive more often that makes their premiums higher; men’s driving behavior – they’re more likely to speed, for example – also makes them more high risk.

The average mileage by age

Adults aged 20-34 and 35-54 are the most prevalent motorists in America, making up 15,098 and 15,291 of the total miles travelled per year. When you consider that these groups cover working age, then the figures support that the miles they do is likely to be the result of being in full-time employment and the daily commute. Not surprisingly, teens and those 65+ travel by road the least, covering under 7,635 miles on average. In addition, fewer young people are getting their license than they used to – which analysts are attributing to the rising cost of fuel and insurance – while seniors appear to be driving further and for longer than past generations have.

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The average mileage by state

We’ve taken the total average mileage per state and divided this figure by the number of licensed drivers to give the average miles driven per driver for each state. The data shows that Wyoming motorists drive the furthest per year, clocking up 21,589 annually – a much higher figure than the countrywide average. Next up are the residents of Indiana, driving around 20,560 miles a year, with Mississippi drivers hot on the heels at 19,517 miles. Missourians are in fourth spot, logging 18,514 miles a year, and New Mexico is the last in the top five biggest driving states with 17,786 – still way ahead of the national annual mileage, and showing that farming and ranching states really rely on their vehicles.

People in more urban, densely populated states drive the fewest miles per year. District of Columbia residents only drive an average of 6,694 miles each year, while New York, Washington and Rhode Island manage 9,548 miles, 9,819 miles and 9,903 miles respectively. Alaskans travelled 10,510 miles in their vehicles on average.

See below for a full breakdown state by state.

StateAverage annual mileage per driver
District of Columbia6,694
New Hampshire11,304
New Jersey11,349
New Mexico17,786
New York9,548
North Carolina14,960
North Dakota16,300
Rhode Island9,903
South Carolina14,417
South Dakota14,962
West Virginia13,334

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