“There’s a national decline in driving that is shared by almost every state,” Baxandall said in a statement. “It’s time for policy makers to wake up and realize the driving boom is over. We need to reconsider expensive highway expansions and focus on alternatives such as public transit and biking — which people increasingly use to get around.”
The study showed that 18 states and the District of Columbia had double-digit reductions in miles driven. The states were Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.
PIRG said the driving reduction was not related to the 2009 recession because the study showed that the states with the largest reductions were different from the states that were hit hardest by the economic downtown.
The organization said the study revealed the end of a six decade "driving boom" in the U.S.
"Driven by the growth of the suburbs, low gas prices, and increased auto ownership, the boom lasted 60 years," PIRG said. "Now, in stark contrast, the average number of miles driven by Americans is in its eight consecutive year of decline, led by declines among millennials."
Baxandall said the results of the study should send a message to Congress.
“Given these trends, we need to press the reset button on our transportation policy,” he said. “Just because past transportation investments overwhelmingly went to highway construction, doesn’t mean that continues to be the right choice for America’s future."
The full PIRG report on state-by-state driving amounts can be read here.