Feb 28, 2015 10:00 AM EST
US Drivers Covered 3 Trillion Miles in 2013

Americans are covering more road miles than they have since 2007, according to the United States Department of Transportation.

Mileage numbers from 2013, the last year for which data is available, show that U.S. driving levels are at their fourth-highest level on record, Autoblog reported. Falling gas prices and a strengthening economy have boosted auto sales and road mileage into the bargain.

The number of vehicles on U.S. roads grew from 253.6 million to 255.9 million year over year.

As revealed by data from the Federal Highway Administration, Americans covered nearly 3 trillion miles on U.S. roads in 2013, assisted by the auto industry's focus on making vehicles that are increasingly fuel-efficient.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is calling for more infrastructure funding to compensate for the extra strain on American roads and highways. The department is pushing for a six-year program called "Grow America" that would invest $478 billion into the country's transportation infrastructure.

In a panel that was part of this year's Washington Auto Show, an analyst predicted that the year 2040 will bring "near-crippling congestion" to U.S. roads.

At a time when lawmakers are debating whether or not to raise the fuel tax, Kevin DeGood, director of infrastructure policy at the Center for American Progress, presented a fairly grim picture of future roads in the United States if driving isn't curbed by a higher levy on gas along with other measures.

DeGood's "short-term" solution was a 15-cent tax increase per $1 of fuel purchased; for the long-term future, America should invest in public transportation and figure out new ways to get drivers from point A to point B, he said.

Two Michigan congresswomen this week urged for legislation that would allow federal funding to be allocated to vehicle-to-infrastructure communication technology. Introduced earlier this month, HR 910 is known as the Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Safety Technology Investment Flexibility Act and has received support from the auto industry.

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