Survey Says

Traffic may be going up, but fuel fill ups are down according to the latest research

As coronavirus lockdowns are being lifted, traffic is increasing on streets nationwide.

Photo by Getty Images

A new study by Honk Technologies has found that motorists are fueling up far less frequently than they were before COVID-19 lockdowns happened. How drastic the drop is, however, may surprise you.

According to Agero, beginning March 17, when the country's first stay at home order went into effect, daily average traffic volume began to fall. Currently, traffic has rebounded and continues to climb with figures nearing the volume of early March, growing at a weekly rate over four times faster than the same period in 2019.

traffic NYC New York City 42nd street Traffic in New York City is down 18 percent compared to forecasted amounts, according to Agero. Photo by Getty Images

"The pandemic has certainly disrupted traditional traffic patterns," says Beth Davidson, Agero's chief marketing officer. "The typical rush hour commute has disappeared, errands are no longer relegated to Saturday morning, and road trips are becoming the new plane ride. But as states continue to ease stay at home orders, we're seeing breakdown event volumes rapidly return to near-normal levels as people begin to use their vehicles again. We believe this could be the start of far higher traffic volumes than we are used to seeing."

Easter seem to have been the turning point for most areas, according to Agero. Since then, average roadside assistance events have shown a greater than 30 percent increase through June 10th.

Because Americans are driving less, they're also fueling up less. An online survey of 719 motorists by Honk Technologies found that 56 percent of respondents were willing up less than once a week prior to the pandemic. Eleven percent filled up once a moth or less.

Currently, 25 percent of survey respondents say that they're filling up at least once per week. Forty-five percent hit the pumps once per month or less.

Additionally, the survey revealed that beyond commuting, few are making trips other than for what is absolutely necessary. This makes sense as many extracurricular actives have been cancelled and dining establishments have closed or are only open under limited conditions. School runs have also ceased.

When asked what destinations they had driven to in the prior seven days, 83 percent said they had driven to a grocery store, pharmacy or some other store for necessary supplies. Just 17 percent had gone shopping, 21 percent to outdoor recreation activities, 25 percent to a restaurant or cafe, 31 percent to visit family or friends and 32 percent to go to work. Just four percent did not go out at all.

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Highway safety

U.S. roadway fatalities up in 2021

Ford, Microsoft team to use quantum-inspired technology to understand traffic congestion
Photo coursesy of Ford Motor Company

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has just released its estimates on traffic fatalities for the first quarter of 2021 and the numbers aren't promising. In the first quarter of this year alone, 8,730 people died in motor vehicle crashes. Last year's cumulative numbers weren't much better, coming in higher than any year since 2007.


U.S. Roadways Traffic may be going up, but fuel fill ups are down according to the latest research automotivemap.com


The grim statistics represent a 10.5 percent increase from the same time period last year, a time when we were already marveling at the numbers. Further data reported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) indicate that the number of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) decreased by 2.1 percent, which makes the increase in fatalities all the more striking a statistic. Initial projections pegged the number of fatalities per 100 million VMT at 1.12, but it instead climbed to 1.26 fatalities per 100 million VMT.

Regionally, most areas in the United Statessaw an increase, though two did not. The Midwest region, which includes Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas did not change, while the mid-east coast states of North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and West Virginia actually saw a six percent decline in fatality counts.


Highway 1 big sur Highway 1 near Big Sur includes the Bixby Creek Bridge, a famous landmark. Photo by\u00a0Getty Images


What's behind all of this? Last year, the NHTSA reported that, with fewer people on the roads, those that were driving were engaging in risky behavior. What's more, Automotive News reports, that the number of deaths involving people not wearing seatbelts increased 15 percent last year and speeding deaths climbed 10 percent.

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The 2022 Acura TLX has the technology enabled.

Photo courtesy of Acura

Toyota and Lexus announced that the WarnerMedia RIDE app would be coming to their models earlier this year. Now, Honda and Acura will be offering the same.

On certain Wi-Fi enabled Honda and Acura vehicles, AT&T unlimited in-car Wi-Fi users will have access to the WarnerMedia RIDE app. The app allows users to connect multiple devices in their vehicles to browse, stream and share premium content from the WarnerMedia library while on the road.

Honda and Acura vehicle owners have been able to use their on-board modem as a hot spot for connecting up to seven devices since 2017. Models compatible for the new tech include the Acura RDX (2019-present), Acura TLX (2021), and Acura MDX (2022) across all trim levels. Honda vehicles with the tech include Accord (2018-present, Touring), Odyssey (2018-present; Touring, Elite), Insight (2019-present, Touring)., Passport (2019-present; Touring, Elite)., and Pilot (2019-present; Touring, Elite, Black Edition).

The WarnerMedia RIDE App allows passengers to access 1,000+ hours of live and on-demand entertainment. The app includes hit TV shows and movies from top brands such as Cartoon Network, CNN, HBO Max, TBS, TNT and TruTV, spanning animation, entertainment, news, sports and more.

WarnerMedia RIDE app The WarnerMedia RIDE app allows users to choose their own avatar.Photo courtesy of Acura

Users can set up profiles and personalize their user exerpience with an avatar from the WarnerMedia library. Profiles also ensure age-appropriate content with options for adults to restrict access to their profiles with an access code.

"Wireless connectivity and connected car services continue to be key features for customers and our long-standing relationship with AT&T continues to be one way we deliver exciting new content to Honda and Acura owners," said Art St. Cyr, vice president of North American Auto Strategy for American Honda. "Honda will continue working to enhance the in-car experience, including the capabilities of the AT&T network and access to top content with WarnerMedia RIDE."

"We're always looking for new and innovative ways to elevate the connected car experience for our customers. With WarnerMedia RIDE, we are delivering a connected experience that's perfect for journeys," said Joe Mosele, vice president, Mobility & Internet of Things, AT&T. "Our collaboration is keeping Honda and Acura owners connected wherever they travel with hours of news and entertainment for the whole family."

WarnerMedia RIDE is available now in the App Store and on Google Play for all U.S. unlimited data plan subscribers. WarnerMedia RIDE is included at no additional cost for existing and new unlimited subscribers.

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