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Drivers Hitting the Road Again

Traditionally, Americans love road trips. Come the summer or holiday weekend, they take to the millions of miles of roadways for to experience the gorgeous vistas firsthand. In 2008, the economic recession affected the driving patterns of Americans, and the automotive industry as a whole. Less and less road trips were taken in an effort to save money and giant gas-guzzling trucks were being ignored in favor of fuel-efficient vehicles. A shift began, but as the economy recovered, has the great American tradition of the road trip?

It's now six years later, the economy slowly improves and gas prices have stabilized, so people must be hitting the roads more. Not quite. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) provided research which showed that Americans were driving 7.6 percent less now than they were in 2004 (which is the peak year for per-capita driving). Further adding to the mystery, a AAA report says the number of road trips is steadily increasing. What gives? How can America be driving less, but taking more road trips?

Analysts have been busy with this puzzle. What they now believe is that Americans love their fuel-efficient cars and road trips more than ever, however their day-to-day driving has been replaced with public transportation. A PIRG report supports their analysis showing a rise in the use of public transportation.

It makes sense. In cities and densely populated areas, traffic is often a cause for anxiety, and Americans have worked their way around it by using transportation their city has to offer. Recent reports have also shown a rise in the use of bicycles, as Americans relieve themselves of paying for gas, insurance and automotive repair costs.

Fortunately, for motorists living in areas without great public transportation, there is a way to ease the burden of gas payments with the Fuel Rewards Program.