Economy, gas prices putting more cars on the road – The Journal News | LoHud.com
Is there more traffic on the road? Yes. Yes there is. Video by Jordan Fenster/lohud
Noticing more cars on the road?
It isn’t just you. The American Automobile Association says there really are more vehicles traversing the roads, not only in the Lower Hudson Valley, but across the New York metropolitan area.
In 2016, there were 4,886 more cars registered in Westchester than the year prior and 1,632 more in Rockland, a trend that was also seen in New York City and on Long Island according to numbers provided by AAA.
In addition, summer typically sees a significant increase in car travel.
The organization’s New York spokesman, Robert Sinclair, attributed the spike to an improving economy and cheap gas.
“Anywhere you look in the economy, there are things going on that promote (more driving),” Sinclair said.
In addition to the new passenger cars — 4.1 percent more than in 2011 in Westchester and 3.9 percent more in Rockland — business that own fleets have incentive to replace them, he said.
“The operating costs are going to be much less and the vehicles are more fuel efficient than they were even four years ago,” Sinclair said.
Rise in cars in summer
The Thruway Authority said the summer travel season is just beginning and that there can be up to 20 percent more cars on the road during the warmer months as travelers make their way through the area en route to vacation destinations alongside commuters.
The New York State Department of Transportation did not have up to date figures, but said the improving economy explanation was plausible.
“Typically there’s a correlation between when the economy is doing well there tends to be more cars on the road when people are traveling to get to work,” said agency spokeswoman Gina DiSarro, who stipulated NYSDOT does not track why traffic volume might change.
The reasons AAA gave for the increased traffic are consistent with their forecasts for Memorial Day and July 4 this summer.
The organization predicted more cars would take to the roads this past Memorial Day than any Memorial Day since 2005 due to increased car sales from a better economy. The hospitality industry added that people are taking more short trips over the course of the summer than one big one.
AAA is also predicting 43 million Americans will take a trip July 4 weekend, the highest on record and 5 million more than on Memorial Day weekend.
AAA said that had something to do with gas prices dipping to their lowest in 12 years.
“Demand is the greatest on record, roughly 415 million gallons being burned,” said Sinclair. “But the stuff is cheaper than it was a year ago and last year was very cheap.”
And with employment growing and consumer confidence increasing, this could continue for some time.
“Things are just humming along,” Sinclair said. “And when things hum, vehicles are on the road.”