Drove 3 Trillion Miles 2010 - Americans logged more miles in their cars last year than in any year since 2007, bouncing back from a steep decline in driving spurred by the recession and the 2008 run-up in gasoline prices.
Americans drove three trillion miles in 2010, the third-highest total on record and an increase of 0.7% from the previous year, the U.S. Transportation Department reported Wednesday. The data marked the second straight year of increased driving and confirmed a reversal from 2008, when gasoline peaked above $4 a gallon and driving plunged 3.6% after two decades of increases.
The extra time behind the wheel was a further sign of a recovering economy. But the data also underscored the nation's continued reliance on oil, a growing concern as turmoil in the Middle East threatens to further drive up gasoline prices and slow, or even reverse, the economic recovery.
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, speaking at a U.S. Senate Budget Committee hearing, said he wasn't ruling out the use of emergency fuel supplies to combat higher oil prices, saying rising fuel prices could damage the country's fragile economy.
Mr. Chu had said previously that he didn't want to tap into the nation's emergency fuel supplies, known as the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, to reduce oil prices. On Wednesday, however, Mr. Chu declined to rule out any action.
"You re-evaluate that position if the price continues to rise because we have a very fragile economy," he said.
Drove 3 Trillion Miles 2010