Americans driving less

Gas prices spiked last year and motorists drove 112 billion fewer miles, according to a federal report.

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By Lara Moscrip, CNNMoney.com contributing writer

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- As gas prices spiked last year, American motorists responded by driving less.

Motorists drove 112 billion fewer miles during the 13-month period between November 1, 2007 and November 30, 2008 compared with the year-prior period, the U.S. Department of Transportation said Thursday.

The average price of a gallon of gas on Nov. 1, 2008, was $2.46, compared to $2.91 a year prior, according to AAA. In the interim, gas prices skyrocketed to record highs, reaching $4.11 a gallon in mid-July.

Driving volume posted its steepest monthly drop in November since 1971, the DOT reported. Americans drove 5.3% less, or 12.9 billion fewer miles, compared with November 2007.

The steepest drop off in driving was reported in the South Atlantic region, with 6.4% fewer miles traveled in November 2008 compared to the same time a year prior.

Among states, the biggest drop off in driving was recorded in Rhode Island, where motorists drove 11.6% fewer miles in November 2008 over the same month a year earlier.

Overall, the decline in driving in steeper among rural motorists than urban drivers.

Average gasoline prices rose for the ninth day in a row Thursday, to $1.85 a gallon from $1.84 the day before, according to AAA.

Gas prices have increased by 23.3 cents, or 12.5%, since the start of 2009. But a gallon of gas is down 38.5% since it reached $3.01 a gallon a year ago.  To top of page

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