L. David Roper
6 July, 2010
As the amount of crude oil available to refine gasoline decreases, the miles traveled on roads will similarly decrease because gasoline prices will increase.
I have done linear fits of VMT data to the average world crude-oil extraction to give a rough projection of future VMT.
Much discussion is going on about widening Interstate 81 in the counties of Roanoke and Montgomery (my county) in Virginia. So, I decided to collect data about vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in those two counties. The data for 2004-2009 are shown, along with average United States and world crude-oil extraction:
It appears that the decline in VMT for the two counties has a downward slope similar to the downward slope of average world crude-oil extraction. So, I did a linear fit of the data to the world crude-oil curve:
The equation for the fit is VMT = 0.896679 + 0.071986 * (world oil).
Increasing gasoline prices due to declining world crude-oil extraction will cause local VMT to decline. Thus, Virginia funds for transportation should be used to build railroads and not vehicular roads. Instead of widening Interstate-81, the Smart Way bus system should be expanded. A monorail should be built starting at the Smart Road in Blacksburg down the middle of I-81 to Roanoke.
VMT data for the United States are available for Interstate highways and for all roads. There has been a decline in the last few years. I did a linear fit of the decline to average crude-oil extraction:
The equations for the fits are IVMT = -0.34251 + 0.152557 * (world oil) &
TVMT = -0.68503 + 0.305114 * (world oil).
Both curves approach zero VMT at about 2100, which is unrealistic. More declining VMT data are needed for future years to improve the projection into the future.
Increasing gasoline prices due to declining world crude-oil extraction will cause United-States VMT to decline. Thus, federal funds for transportation should be used to build railroads and not vehicular roads.
Declining vehicle miles traveled in the United States due to increasing gasoline prices that are due to declining available crude oil implies that communities will be become more localized. Food and other necessities will be produced locally. Long distance travel will be by train.