Monday, June 29, 2015

Driving update for June: Dez, plus bonus gas prices

Dez turned over 47,000 miles on Saturday, which means it's time for another driving update.  The previous update was on April 11, 77 days earlier, so my wife and I drove Dez an average of 12.99 miles per day and 396.10 miles per standard month of 30.5 days.  That's much less than the 16.39 miles per day and exactly 500 miles per standard month of 30.5 days we drove the car last time, but more than the 11.63 miles/day or 354.7 miles/month between Dez turning over 45,000 miles and 46,000.  Some of the return trip from Mount Pleasant contributed, but the higher baseline since we moved to a more car-dependent neighborhood remains.  Speaking of which, Ruby should turn over 92,000 miles next month.  Stay tuned for an update on her.

While my wife and I drove Dez less than during the previous update, the higher baseline shows that we're still contributing to the increased driving by Americans that has occurred since gas prices fell.  Bill McBride at Calculated Risk shared the latest statistics last Thursday in DOT: Vehicle Miles Driven increased 3.9% year-over-year in April, Rolling 12 Months at All Time High.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) reported:
Travel on all roads and streets changed by 3.9% (10.2 billion vehicle miles) for April 2015 as compared with April 2014.

Travel for the month is estimated to be 267.9 billion vehicle miles.

The seasonally adjusted vehicle miles traveled for April 2015 is 262.4 billion miles, a 3.7% (9.5 billion vehicle miles) increase over April 2014.
The following graph shows the rolling 12 month total vehicle miles driven to remove the seasonal factors.

Both McBride and I attribute the increased driving to lower gas prices.
In April 2015, gasoline averaged of $2.56 per gallon according to the EIA.  That was down significantly from April 2014 when prices averaged $3.74 per gallon.
The increased miles driven will probably cause more traffic deaths, which will prevent the prediction in The Atlantic that 2015 will be the first year since statistics have been kept that gun deaths will exceed automobile deaths in the U.S.  That's a topic for another entry.  Follow over the jump for the latest on gas prices.

First, the graphic, which tells the general story.

While I wrote in Gas prices jump as summer driving season begins in earnest more than two weeks ago that I might not visit my old neighborhood again until September, it turns out I've been there twice since.  The first time was the very next day.  The two stations down the street had raised their prices again to $2.89 from $2.76, confirming my suspicion that I should have bought gas for Ruby when I passed them the day before.  The second time was Saturday, when my wife and I hit the old neighborhood to fuel up Dez.  I was hoping that one of the stations down the street would still be at $2.89, which was now a good price.  One of them was, so I filled up Dez.  The other station was at $2.93.  As for the corner station, I didn't have my wife drive the car down the three blocks to check, but it was probably between $2.95 and $2.99 based on prevailing prices.

That wasn't a bad price, considering that GasBuddy shows the Detroit metro average at $2.92, slightly below the $2.93 of the last update, but below the $2.97 that the mean was at a few days after that.  Prices might go down a bit before July 4th as oil prices have been relatively steady to slightly down. lists last Friday's closing prices for WTI, Brent, and RBOB at $59.63, $63.26, and $2.05 respectively.  All of those are below the levels of the previous update of WTI at $60.77, Brent at $65.11, and RBOB at $2.13.  WTI is down in early trading today because of Greece, but stay tuned to see if that sticks.  Just the same, watch for prices to go first down, then up for the July 4th weekend, and start an irregular slide down after that.

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