US drivers log record-breaking number of miles in 2016

US drivers log record-breaking number of miles in 2016
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Motorists in the U.S. drove a record-breaking number of miles in the first half of 2016, according to new data from the Department of Transportation.

U.S. driving hit 1.58 trillion miles in the first six months of this year — up 3.3 percent from the same period in the previous year.

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For context, 1.58 trillion miles is the equivalent of 250 roundtrips from Earth to Pluto, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) said Monday.

The previous record, which was set in 2015, was 1.54 trillion miles logged by drivers in the first six months of the year.

More than 282.3 billion miles were driven this June alone, representing a slight increase from the previous June.

A combination of factors has helped boost U.S. driving, including lower gas prices, a decrease in unemployment and the prevalence of more fuel-efficient vehicles.

“The increase in driving highlights the growing demands facing the nation’s roads and reaffirms the importance of the ‘Fixing America’s Surface Transportation’ (FAST) Act, which is investing $305 billion in America’s surface transportation infrastructure – including $226 billion for roads and bridges – until 2020,” the FHWA said in a press release.