The Increase of Miles Driven in the US Suggests that Tires Deserve a Closer Look


The recent rise in miles driven on US roads and highways suggests that drivers across the country are more likely to find that it’s time to purchase a new set of tires. How far can tires be driven before the tread depth becomes unsafe and the tires become too old? Historically, the rule of thumb has been to discard tires after 60,000 miles of wear or more than five years after the tires were manufactured. Drivers hitting the roads this season are well-advised to bear this in mind.

As detailed in the following graph, data collected from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Administration1 shows that the number of miles driven on US roadways varies from month to month, but in general peaks in July and August before dipping to a low in the short month of February. While this pattern of driving behavior remains quite uniform, 2015 saw a substantially greater amount of driver activity after four years of fairly constant monthly and yearly averages.


On average, the number of miles driven for January through November of 2015 has increased by approximately 5.6%. This may not seem like much, but when you look at the actual numbers, this corresponds to approximately 153 billion additional miles driven. Why the increase? One potential reason is that there have been significant price decreases at the pumps, which allows for more discretionary income to be used for car travel. This theory is corroborated by recent findings from a Rubber Manufacturers Association2 (RMA) study showing gains in tire production for 2015 as compared to the previous year. With this in mind, know that Sid Richardson Carbon Company is committed to meet these growing demands and to deliver the highest and best quality carbon black fillers for tires. Check your tires for wear and stay safe on the roads.