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    EIA Says Downward Slope for Driving Will Persist

    Miles traveled per driver will decline through 2020, agency predicts.

    WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Annual miles traveled per licensed driver in the United States will continue to decline for the next several years and may never approach the historic high reached in 2007, according to the Energy Information Administration's (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2014.

    The report revealed that miles traveled reached a historic high of 12,900 annually in 2007, only to fall to 12,500 in 2012. This number will decline to 12,200 miles in 2020, EIA stated.

    The report also predicts that the number of vehicles per licensed driver will decline from 1.12 in 2007 to 1.02 in 2040. In addition, fuel prices are expected to fall from 2012 levels and will not exceed that level again until 2035.

    The EIA outlook, however, did have some good news for convenience store retailers. Miles traveled per licensed driver per year is expected to increase to 12,800 by 2040. In addition, the number of licensed drivers is expected to increase 0.8 percent per year from 2012 to 2040. Also, real disposal income is predicted to rise by 55 percent through 2040.

    According to the agency, the current and predicted near-term drop in mileage traveled in the U.S. is likely due to a variety of factors, including changes in travel patterns by driver age and gender groups, employment rates, fuel efficiency, personal income and gasoline prices.

    "The changes in travel behavior and demographics more than offset the boost to personal travel provided by income growth and lower motor gasoline prices," the EIA stated.

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