How Much Has the Pandemic Changed Driving Habits?

Joey Capparella
·1 min read
Photo credit: Illustration by Moron Eel - Car and Driver
Photo credit: Illustration by Moron Eel - Car and Driver

From Car and Driver

October's issue includes our annual 20 Questions feature. You can find this and 19 other questions–and answers–there.

A lot. In April 2020, drivers in the U.S. covered 64 percent fewer miles than in a usual April. But while we're beginning to move around again, the downward trend in car travel could outlast the pandemic.

A study from accounting firm KPMG International projects a permanent decrease in annual miles driven in the U.S. even once a vaccine is in widespread use. If more companies transition to a work-from-home model, the drop in the number of people commuting to work could remove up to 14 million cars from the roads. A long-term increase in online shopping and delivery would mean even fewer trips to the store than we're taking now. Add it all up and KPMG's forecast calls for a permanent 10 percent reduction in the around 3 trillion total miles driven on U.S. roads each year.

There's more than the usual uncertainty here. Other studies have indicated that people will prefer driving personal vehicles over ride sharing and road trips over air travel in a post-pandemic world. And credit-ratings firm Moody's says most commercial leases have terms of eight years or longer, so all this talk of eliminating offices could turn out to be just that: talk.

More 20 Questions

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