U.S. Road Travel Falls to Lowest Levels Since 2003

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The Northeast saw the biggest drop, falling 2.2% in August compared with a year ago; the West, in comparison, fell just 1.2%, the DOT reports. Among types of vehicle travel, urban interstate travel fell just 0.5%, while rural interstate travel fell 2.7%.

Higher gas prices likely played a part in the decline. On Aug. 1, a gallon of regular ran $3.68 nationally, the Energy Information Administration reports. That’s up $1 from early August 2010. Economic malaise may have also resulted in fewer summer road trips. August’s Consumer Confidence Index plummeted below levels seen all year — and it hasn’t improved since then.

Traffic Volume Trends: August 2011 (U. S. Department of Transportation)

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