Americans are back on the road, with 2021 total miles not only exceeding 2020 figures but coming within 1% of the pre-pandemic 2019 totals, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
And that's a lot of miles: 3.23 trillion vehicle miles. Yes, that's trillion. And to drive those distances, Americans used 10 million barrels of petroleum a day, up from 9.3. DOT doesn't think the petroleum use will rise as fast as driving, though, because of improved fuel economy and the rise of electric vehicles.
Sadly, there has also been a sharp rise in traffic deaths, up 12% in the first nine months of 2021 over 2020, itself a year in which despite sharp drops in driving, road deaths rose, mostly attributed to speeding, and to driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.