Source: Federal Highway Administration; California Department of Transportation. Analysis by Beacon Economics
  • From 2020 to 2021, VMT per registered vehicle increased by 6.9 percent (or 699 miles) to 10,172 miles, after consistently decreasing for 10 years. This shift may be attributed to people traveling more frequently by car in 2021, as pandemic-related air travel restrictions remained. Compared to 2019, the total vehicle miles traveled in 2021 is 8.8 percent lower, VMT per capita is 7.6 percent lower, and VMT per registered vehicle is 6.1 percent. While an increase in VMT per vehicle may provide short-term benefits such as increased economic activity, it can also contribute to negative externalities such as increased greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
  • The 2022 Scoping Plan includes more aggressive VMT targets, though they are not regulatory requirements. Previously, the target was 12 percent below 2019 levels by 2030 and 22 percent below by 2045. In the new plan, the targets are now 25 percent and 30 percent below 2019 levels by 2030 and 2045, respectively.85

85 Curry, Melanie. “CARB’s Scoping Plan for Climate Action Calls for Much Less Driving.” Streetsblog Cal. December 19, 2022. Available at: