Average Miles Driven per Year by Americans (2022)
U.S. drivers drive an average of 12,785 miles per year according to data from the Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHA). The FHA's most recent annual report compiled data on transportation, including the number of licensed drivers, average car mileage by state and more. We analyzed this report to draw correlations between annual mileage and states, age and sex. We also look at how the coronavirus pandemic affected the national average annual mileage, likely due to quarantine protocols and the increase of remote working opportunities.
Average Miles Driven Per Year by State
U.S. citizens drive, on average, 12,785 miles per year based on the most recent report from the FHA. However, this figure can vary significantly by state. Here is a state-by-state breakdown of the average annual mileage per driver.
Average Annual Mileage Per Driver
District of Columbia
States Where People Drive the Most
Data from the FHA showed that the following 10 states have the highest average annual mileage per driver:
Wyoming: 22,939 miles per year
Mississippi: 19,664 miles per year
Missouri: 17,090 miles per year
Indiana: 16,901 miles per year
Alabama: 16,800 miles per year
Oklahoma: 16,467 miles per year
North Dakota: 16,266 miles per year
New Mexico: 16,126 miles per year
Kentucky: 16,016 miles per year
Arkansas: 15,747 miles per year
Ninety percent of the states with the highest average annual mileage per driver are located in the southern and midwestern regions. Five of the ten states with the highest annual mileage (Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arkansas) are in the southern region. Four states (Wyoming, Missouri, Indiana, North Dakota and New Mexico) are in the midwestern region. New Mexico is the only state in the western region to rank among the ten states with the highest annual mileage.
Half of the ten states with the lowest annual mileage are rural states. Rural states with less sophisticated public transportation may require more drivers to use their personal vehicles to get around, contributing to a higher annual mileage per driver.
States Where People Drive the Least
The ten states with the lowest average annual mileage per driver are:
New York: 8,404 miles per year
Washington: 9,232 miles per year
Rhode Island: 9,381 miles per year
Hawaii: 9,533 miles per year
Pennsylvania: 9,852 miles per year
Delaware: 10,064 miles per year
Alaska: 10,226 miles per year
New Jersey: 10,647 miles per year
Massachusetts: 10,956 miles per year
Oregon: 10,968 miles per year
The northeastern and western regions hold the states with the lowest average annual mileage per driver. The northeastern region holds 60% of these states (New York, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and Massachusetts). The remaining four states (Washington, Hawaii, Alaska and Oregon) are located in the western region.
States with a higher distribution of public transportation commuters are typically in the northeastern and western regions according to a 2019 U.S. Census report. New York, Boston and Newark (New Jersey) are especially transit-heavy metro areas in the northeastern region. With a higher percentage of drivers using public transit, fewer drivers racking up mileage on their personal vehicles.
Our research showed that there is a correlation between a state's region and its annual mileage. States with the highest annual mileage per driver are located in the southern and midwestern regions, while the states with the lowest annual mileage per driver are concentrated in the northeastern and western regions.
Annual Mileage Decreased During the Coronavirus Pandemic
The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic in March 2020. The national average annual mileage per driver dropped from 14,328 miles (2019) to 12,785 miles (2020). Most states experienced a 6% to 16% decrease in average annual mileage per driver from 2019 to 2020 — a period when many states initiated quarantine protocols. Delaware experienced the largest decrease in average mileage (down 20%), while Mississippi, Kentucky and Connecticut experienced the smallest decrease (down 2%).
Percentage Change from 2019 to 2020
Average Annual Mileage Per Driver
Total Annual Mileage (in millions)
Do Different Demographics Play a Role in Annual Mileage?
Our analysis showed that there are some correlations between annual mileage and a driver's age and sex.
Average Annual Car Mileage by Age
The most recent data from the FHA showed that annual mileage can vary based on your age.
Average Annual Mileage
65 and older
Source: Federal Highway Administration
Drivers ages 16 to 19 have the least annual mileage, on average, at 7,624 miles. A portion of these drivers are likely learner's permit drivers and may not commute as regularly as working adults.
The drivers with the highest annual mileage are ages 20 to 54. Annual mileage in this age group is nearly double that of teenagers and adults 65 years and older. Drivers ages 20 to 54 likely hold stable jobs and commute regularly and further for work (compared to teenage drivers that may hold a local part-time job or retirees).
Average Annual Car Mileage by Sex
Our analysis of data from the FHA showed that men drive more miles than women, on average, across all age groups.
Average Annual Mileage per Male Driver
Average Annual Mileage per Female Driver
65 years and older
Source: Federal Highway Administration
Overall, the annual mileage for men is 63% higher than that of women. This equates to about an additional 6,408 miles, on average, for male drivers over women.
Commute time and frequency may partly explain the difference between the sexes. Studies have shown that men are more likely to commute further for work. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics also suggest that men are more likely than women to work over 40 hours per week, which can lead to more frequent commuting on top of longer commute times.
How Does Annual Mileage Affect Insurance Rates?
Drivers with high annual mileage are more likely to have higher car insurance premiums than a driver with a lower average miles per year. If you spend more time on the road, then you increase the likelihood of filing a car insurance claim — a driver who commutes seven times per week is more likely to get into an accident than someone who drives only once a week. Insurance companies generally charge higher car insurance premiums to reflect the increased risk associated with higher-mileage drivers.
Low-Mileage Drivers and Pay-Per-Mile Car Insurance
A pay-per-mile auto policy is a type of auto insurance in which the number of miles you drive directly affects your premiums. Pay-per-mile policies can be an affordable alternative to traditional auto insurance if you're a low-mileage driver — typically 10,000 annual miles or fewer. If you're a retiree, a stay-at-home parent or somebody who works from home, then pay-per-mile auto insurance may lead to considerable savings.
Lower Mileage Is Your Opportunity To Save on Auto Insurance
Annual mileage has dropped in recent years partly due to the pandemic and likely the rise of remote working. If you're driving fewer miles, you may be able to save on car insurance with a new policy or even a pay-per-mile premium structure. If you drive a lot, there are prices out there for you too.
With so many options available, SmartFinancial may help narrow your choices down to one policy that will cover you with the high pricetag. After answering a few questions, we analyze insurance partners in your area to match you with a policy based on your coverage needs and budget. Just enter your zip code below to get started on your free quote!
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