Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Thanksgiving travel forecast plus double driving update for November 2019: Pearl and Snow Bear

Both Pearl and Snow Bear have rolled over another 1,000 miles on their odometers, so it's time for an American Thanksgiving travel report.*

I begin with CBS This Morning reporting More than 49 million Americans hitting the road for Thanksgiving travel.

Giant Thanksgiving storms are pummeling roads across the U.S. and snarling travel plans. Kris Van Cleave is about to do what more than 49 million Americans are doing: loading up the car and hitting the road.
I hope Kris Van Cleave makes some new friends, as Gayle King suggests.  It certainly will make his trip more interesting.

While the bulk of Americans traveling for our Thanksgiving are driving, millions more are flying, which is why 13 WMAZ in Macon, Georgia reported AAA: 54 million people traveling this week for Thanksgiving.

The AAA said more than 54 million people are hitting the road this week for Thanksgiving. One of the worst times to travel will be Wednesday afternoon and evening.
I included this video as much for the mention of gas prices, which are slightly higher overall in the U.S. than this time last year but still falling, as I did for the expected total number of Americans traveling, not just driving.

For the situation for flyers, WDIV in Detroit reported on the Thanksgiving travel rush underway at Detroit Metro Airport (DTW).  Of course I had to include a Detroit angle on this story; this is a Detroit-based blog.

It's always one of the busiest days at the airport.

Like all the rest of the clips, the anchors and reporters are trying to have some fun with the situation.  I just hope their viewers enjoy it as much as the TV personalities seem to.

Follow over the jump for my personal driving update.

Pearl passed 49,000 miles on Monday, October 28 while Snow Bear's odometer rolled over 6,000 miles on Thursday, November 14.  Since Pearl's odometer turned over her previous 1,000 miles on Monday, September 16, that means that it took exactly 6 weeks or 54 days to travel 1,000 miles.  That translates to an average of 18.52 miles per day, 564.81 miles per standard month, and 6759.26 miles per year.  That's 20.4% more than the averages of 15.38 miles per day, 469.23 miles per standard month, 5,615.38 miles per year I drove her between  July 13 and September 16.  When I wrote "I'm not sure I will be as successful [in reducing my driving and keeping it down] when I pass 49,000 miles in about two months," I was right.

That written, my driving is still below my goal of 6,500 miles per year using year-over-year comparisons.  In the double driving update for October 2018, "Pearl passed 43,000 miles when I rolled into my driveway on Tuesday, October 23 and Snow Bear passed 4,000 miles the next day, Wednesday, October 24."  I took 370 days to drive Pearl 6,000 miles, which converts to averages of 16.22 miles per day, 494.59 miles per month, and 5918.92 miles per year.  In addition, the really important statisic is how much both my wife and I drive.  It took the two of us, as I sometimes also drive Snow Bear, 386 days to travel 2,000 miles.  That becomes an average of 5.18 miles per day, 158.03 miles per standard month, and 1890.70 miles per year.  Combined, we drove 21.40 miles per day, 652.62 miles per month, and 7809.62 miles per year.  That's a lot less than the 30.93 miles per day, 943.30 miles per month, and 11,288.66 miles per year we drove between July and October 2018 and the 25.42 miles per day, 773.31 miles per month, and 9279.7 miles per year we drove together between March and July 2018.

Our driving stats look even better when I include the driving from this year.  Snow Bear passed 5,000 miles on Wednesday, January 16, 2019, 301 days before she rolled over 6,000 miles, which converts to 3.32 miles per day, 101.33 miles per month, and 1212.62 miles per year.  During the same period, I drove Pearl 5,068 miles for an average of 16.84 miles per day, 513.53 miles per month, and 6145.58 miles per year.  The combined average becomes 20.16 miles per day, 614.86 miles per month, and 7358.21 miles per year.  Unlike the our situation in January, we are not contributing to the increased miles driven by Americans so far this year.
The Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Commission has released the latest report on Traffic Volume Trends, data through September.

"Travel on all roads and streets changed by +1.7% (+4.6 billion vehicle miles) for September 2019 as compared with September 2018. Travel for the month is estimated to be 267.7 billion vehicle miles." The 12-month moving average was up 0.14% month-over-month and up 0.9% year-over-year. If we factor in population growth, the 12-month MA of the civilian population-adjusted data (age 16-and-over) was up 0.06% month-over-month and up 0.4% year-over-year.

Here is a chart that illustrates this data series from its inception in 1971. It illustrates the "Moving 12-Month Total on ALL Roads," as the DOT terms it. As we can readily see, the Great Recession had a substantial impact on our driving habits, but have bounced back since.

That's it for the driving update.  I wish safe travels to all my readers and a Happy Thanksgiving!

*I also celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving, so I make the distinction.

**Yes, I have been delaying this report until I could tie it into something bigger like Thanksgiving travel.  I just wasn't feeling it otherwise.

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