Trends in Vehicle Miles Driven During COVID-19 - Tire Review Magazine

Trends in Vehicle Miles Driven During COVID-19

Overall daily national traffic volume for consumers, local fleets, and long-haul trucks was down 38% for March 21-27, relative to Feb. 22-28.

In a new series presented by the Auto Care Association, Market Insights with Mike, Mike Chung, director of market intelligence at Auto Care Association, is analyzing market influencing trends as they happen and their potential effects on your business and the auto care industry.

With millions of Americans working from home due to office and school closures, many in the industry are wondering about vehicle miles traveled (VMT) statistics – and rightly so! VMT statistics are correlated with the health of the aftermarket industry, and this makes intuitive sense – the more miles driven, the more that maintenance, repair, and replacement of vehicles will be required.

But what about the past few weeks, since COVID-19 has whipsawed the economy? In my local neighborhood, there is certainly less traffic, but what about the entire nation? Transportation data provider INRIX reports that overall daily national traffic volume for consumers, local fleets, and long-haul trucks was down 38% for March 21-27, relative to Feb. 22-28.


Based on anonymous speed/location data reported in real-time from all road types for more than 100 million trips per day in the United States, INRIX found that relative to typical daily travel (Friday 2/22):

  • Nationally, personal travel dropped by 38% to 48% during the work week.
  • Long haul truck travel showed its first signs of decline by Thursday 3/26, down 20% on Friday 3/27.
  • Local area commercial travel declined steadily throughout the week, reaching 16% on Friday 3/27.
  • San Francisco and Detroit’s personal travel have both dropped by nearly two-thirds overall.
  • Michigan had the largest statewide decrease in personal (56%) and long-haul truck (41%) travel.

The week of 3/21-3/27 saw further reductions in vehicular travel than the week of 3/14-3/20, both relative to the week of 2/22-2/28:


Metropolitan areas with the highest reductions for Friday 3/27 (relative to Friday 2/22) include Detroit (down 62%), San Francisco (down 54%), Seattle (down 52%), and New York City (down 48%). (Note that San Francisco was the first major city to ‘shelter-in-place’). These trends are also illustrated in the chart below:


How long the decrease in VMT will persist is uncertain, particularly in the face of lower gas prices, the upcoming summer driving season, and aversion to flying given social distancing. What we have seen historically, though, is that aftermarket spend is sustained as automobile owners keep their vehicles longer. This may be even more pronounced given temporary shutdowns of motor vehicle factories.

You May Also Like

Pirelli Revs Up for 2023 Motorsport Season in the US

The Italian tiremaker is set to participate in 10 North American motorsport championships.


Pirelli is reinforcing its commitment to North American racing in 2023 with large-scale involvement and tire distribution to both global and domestic competitions taking place across the continent. The Italian tiremaker is set to participate in 10 North American motorsport championships, with almost 40 Pirelli and partner personnel committed to over 100 races, supplying more than 30,000 tires throughout the course of the season, the company said.

Fortune Tires Debuts new US Dealer Website

Current Fortune dealers can access a range of dealer resources, including product information and marketing materials.

Monro Q3 Results: Strength in Tire Sales, Midwest Growth Through Acquisitions

Monro also reported customers trading down to lower priced tires and deferring vehicle maintenance.

financial results
Point S Reveals Ambitious ‘500, 50, 5’ Growth Goal

The independent tire dealer network plans to have 500 stores in 50 states within five years.

Pirelli Equips BMW i4 M50 with EV Tires

Pirelli has developed P Zero tires with Elect technology for BMW’s first fully electric car.


Other Posts

BKT’s Kershaw to Deliver Keynote at 2023 OTR Conference

The 68th annual Off-the-Road Tire Conference is Feb. 22-25 in Tucson, Arizona.

Goodyear Announces Cost Savings Actions

Goodyear said its Q4 results fell short of expectations given a significantly weaker industry backdrop.

Hankook Tire Signs Multi-Year Partnership with Lamborghini

Hankook Tire will be the exclusive tire and technical partner for the 2023 Lamborghini Super Trofeo series.

Off-Road Racer Jim Horne Joins Team Hercules

As a member of Team Hercules, Jim Horne will represent the brand as ambassadors at competitions and dealer and consumer events.