March sees sharpest drop in driving on record, states losing fuel tax revenueEnlarge Photo
With fuel prices at record levels and the economy still reeling from a credit crisis, Americans have reduced the number of miles they’re driving each month in an effort to cut the fuel bill. The Department of Transportation (DOT) reported figures from March showing the steepest decline in driving levels ever recorded.
Americans drove an estimated 4.3% less in March compared with a year ago, equating to a drop of 11 billion miles. The DOT called it "the sharpest yearly drop for any month" in the history of the administration, which has been keeping records since 1942, Reuters
The reduction in driving and subsequent drop in fuel consumption means the states, which receive billions of dollars in fuel taxes, is seeing an equally sharp decline in revenues. This revenue is typically spent on improvements and other infrastructure investments.
Several states are now struggling to come up with ways to make up for the shortfall in order to pay for road maintenance and other infrastructure projects. One solution is a proposal to lease out tollroads to private companies and earn a return on the profits as well as a healthy upfront payment.