"Avg person drives 40 miles a day", according to who and based on what?

"Avg person drives 40 miles a day", according to who and based on what?

I keep hearing this statement every time range is brought up. Every car company cites this "fact" when dismissing the need for a long range EV, that a Volt meets the avg commuter's need for all electric commuting.

Has anyone stopped to think where exactly this figure came from? Has anyone ever participated in a survey about their traveling habits?

I suspect they just took 15,000 miles per year and divided it by 365 days.

yeti.turner | April 26, 2016

It is interesting why they don't just make ICE cars with two gallon tanks then?

Home-work-home is exactly 40 miles for me. I currently have an i3 and getting a Model S next month. The i3's estimated range is about 80 miles with a full charge on a perfect day with no wind, warm or cold weather. There have been several times that I've almost run out of charge -- which convinced me to get a Tesla.

jordanrichard | April 27, 2016

"why they don't just make ICE cars with two gallon tanks then?" precisely the question I wish the media would ask any of these other companies when they spout about how their respective EV/PEVs meets the avg travel needs of consumers.

DTsea | April 27, 2016

It is BS.
If that was your 5 day a week pattern thats 10k miles a year.... nobody with a job or kids drives that little.

stevenmaifert | April 27, 2016

"U.S. daily travel averages 11 billion miles a day — almost 40 miles per person per day"

Mike83 | April 27, 2016

Driving that 40 miles takes from 20 minutes each way to 2 hours or more if you live in traffic and have to enter/exit the freeway and wait for stoplights. Lots of gas/diesel burning waiting. What is the mpg and the health effects of commuting.

DTsea | April 27, 2016

Steven maifert, yes 11 billion miles is 37 miles for each of the 300 million people.


There are 250 million vehicles registered in the US and if 2/3 are actually driven every day, which feels to me like a conservatively high percentage, it is closer to 70 miles per vehicle per day.

But it isnt a bell curve. For men in 35 to 54 age group- prime working age- the federal govt calculates average annual miles per driver at 18858 miles. (

Assuming two weeks away on vacation each year that is about 380 miles per week. Weekend driving would be local, lets say 20 miles each day, which leaves an average weekday drive distance of 67 miles.

I love it when the math checks.

Good luck with a Leaf without workplace charging.

DTsea | April 27, 2016

Oops it is onh00 in that link not onh0p

jordanrichard | April 27, 2016

If you take the number of miles I have driven so far and divided down to a daily avg, it comes out to 61 miles per day and my office is all of 4.4 miles from my house.

The next person that throws this "40 miles per day" crap at me, I will ask them if they even have a remote clue as to where that figure came from.

Pricee2 | April 27, 2016

You can drown in a lake that is an average three feet deep.

DTsea | April 27, 2016

Jordan richard +1 as usual.

adoh2010 | April 28, 2016

The average car drives 15000 miles a year. Since there are more registered cars than license holders in America, this means that the average American drives more than 15k miles a year.

And the reason they don't make 2 gallon tanks is to make long distance trips easier for people. Instead of stopping every 30 mins for gas you stop every 4-8 hours. Also, it doesn't cost any significant amount of money to make a bigger gas tank.

For the average American, a volt will provide all-electric commuter miles and then it will drive on gasoline for long trips. Meaning that less than 20% of the average American's driving can be done using a power socket and thus cost less.

The Volt's biggest problem is that it's complicated, boring, slow, heavy, and costs the taxpayers money to make. That's why it gets bad press.

adoh2010 | April 28, 2016

Keep in mind that we are lucky that car manufacturers didn't make a smart range-extended EV because Tesla would have failed if they did. A smart Volt or i3 would have the looks of a normal car, intelligent packaging of motors and batteries, and a compact rotary engine "which will be reliable if revved at constant RPM to power a generator". That would have Tesla an overpriced toy and failed the project.

Musk estimates that Tesla will accelerate our transition to 0 emissions by a decade or so. That's a decade less of emissions which means less devastating effects of climate change "if it's true".

stevenmaifert | April 29, 2016

@jordanrichard - The remote clue is that DOT survey I referenced, but who can trust the government. Obviously you are not an average driver, as that same survey says, the average driver drives 29 miles per day and takes 55 minutes to do it. A lot of stop and go traffic I'd guess.

MitchP85D | April 29, 2016

I have a 75 mile round trip between home and work. My Tesla actually makes me look forward to going to work!

jordanrichard | April 30, 2016

stevenmaifert, as you pointed out, the survey says the average driver drives 29 miles, than where did the "40" come from?

adoh2010, yes the a rotary engine aka Wankel engine is nice and compact, but very fuel inefficient, hence nobody uses it. They also don't last very long,