Americans are driving more, which eventually should lead to more car and truck sales.
For about a decade, estimated vehicle miles traveled in the U.S were flat to lower. But that critical measure is on track for its second straight year of a roughly 3 percent increase, based on government figures through August, updated in mid-October.
Tom Webb, Cox Automotive's chief economist, calls vehicle miles traveled a measure of "vehicle consumption." Racking up more miles, after all, is what turns a shiny new car into a jalopy.
Webb attributes the rise in miles traveled to low gasoline prices and what he calls full and stable "but not robust" employment.