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Your average annual mileage represents the average distance you drive in your car in a year, and it’s one of many factors car insurance companies use to determine your premiums. Statistically, drivers who spend less time on the road are less likely to get into an accident.

A low average annual mileage can help you secure lower premiums on your auto insurance, while higher mileage can lead to higher premiums. The exact cost will vary depending on your car insurance company and other factors, but you can take steps to reduce your average miles driven per year and lower your insurance premiums.

What’s the average for annual miles driven?

The average American drives 13,476 miles a year, according to data from the Federal Highway Administration.[1] If you drive more than the average annual mileage in the U.S., you may see an increase in your insurance premiums.

Over 228 million licensed drivers live in the U.S., with more than 275 million registered vehicles.[2] The most significant numbers of licensed drivers live in California, Texas, and Florida, mostly due to the large population and size of each state. Wyoming, Vermont, and Alaska have the fewest licensed drivers.

What are commuting miles and why do they matter?

To gauge the accuracy of your annual mileage estimate, most insurance companies will want information about your commuting miles, or the time you spend driving to and from work. Specifically, your insurance provider will want to know how many miles you commute to work and how many days per week you do so.

If you commute to work on a daily basis in a densely populated area, you may face higher car insurance rates. A longer commute means you’re spending more time on the road, which creates an increased risk of being in an accident.

How do annual miles driven affect car insurance rates?

Many different factors affect your car insurance rates, including how many miles you drive per year. When you apply for auto insurance, your auto insurer will ask you to estimate your annual mileage.

You’re at increased risk of getting into an accident and filing an insurance claim if your annual mileage is high. By comparison, if you work from home and spend very little time driving, you have a lower risk of getting in an accident.

Though annual mileage is self-reported, it’s not a good idea to underestimate this number to your auto insurance provider. If you’re in an accident, your auto insurer will learn and document your actual vehicle mileage. Misrepresenting your annual mileage could even result in a cancellation of coverage.

What’s low mileage to insurance companies?

Insurance companies generally view anyone who drives fewer than 7,000 miles per year as a low-mileage driver. If you drive fewer than 7,000 miles per year, you may qualify for low-mileage discounts and pay less on your auto insurance. Your exact savings will depend on where you live, but drivers save an average of 3% on insurance.[3]

Keep in mind that the maximum mileage requirements will vary depending on your insurance company, so you may qualify for this discount with some companies but not with others.

What do car insurance companies consider high mileage?

The average annual mileage is 13,476 miles per year, so you’ll probably be considered a high-mileage driver if you exceed the average mileage. This status tends to result in higher insurance premiums.

You can inform your insurance provider if your driving circumstances change in the future. For example, if you switch to a job with a shorter commute, you may qualify for a lower premium.

See More: Car Insurance for High-Mileage Leases

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How to calculate your miles driven per year

Here’s how to calculate your average annual mileage:

1. Begin by figuring out your commuting miles. Multiply the number of miles you commute to and from work by the number of days you work in a given week. If you drive 20 miles to and from work, four days a week, you’d multiply 40 by four, bringing you to 160 commuting miles per week.

2. Next, figure out the average number of miles you drive on the weekend. You can do this by tracking your mileage on your car’s odometer. Let’s say you check your odometer for the weekend and see you only drove around 50 miles total. Add this to your 160 commuting miles to reach 210 miles.

3. Lastly, you’ll want to consider any other trips you make regularly that involve a lot of mileage. If you have children, these regular trips may involve trips to school, practices, and more. Other common trips include going to the grocery store, restaurants, the gym, and more. For the purposes of this example, let’s say these regular trips during the week add up to an additional 70 miles, bringing you to 280 miles per week. Multiply your average weekly mileage of 280 by 52, and you’ll have your average annual mileage of 14,560.

Since your mileage affects your car insurance rates, it’s important to know your average annual mileage. It may be worthwhile to look for ways to reduce your time spent driving if you know your mileage is high.

Which states have the highest average miles driven?

Your location may influence the number of miles you drive on average per year. For example, if you live in an area without adequate public transportation, you’ll have to rely on a car to get to work, school, and elsewhere. The following chart outlines the 10 states where drivers have the highest average annual mileages, based on data from Kelley Blue Book.

StateAverage Annual Mileage
North Dakota16,266
New Mexico16,126

Which states have the lowest average miles driven?

Alternatively, some states have a lower average annual mileage. For instance, states with good access to public transit or highly walkable cities may have lower mileages. The following table shows the 10 states where drivers have the lowest annual average mileages, based on data from Kelley Blue Book.

StateAverage Annual Mileage
Washington, D.C.5,808
New York8,404
Rhode Island9,381
New Jersey10,647

Who drives more, men or women?

Men tend to drive more than women, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Men drive an average of 16,550 miles a year, while women drive an average of 10,142 miles a year.

The average annual mileage varies some by age, but even across different age groups, men consistently drive more than women. Men are also more likely to be involved in fatal car accidents than women. Men account for 72% of total motor vehicle deaths, while women only account for the remaining 28%.[4]

For that reason, gender affects car insurance premiums, and men pay more on average. For instance, it’ll cost more to insure a 16-year-old male driver than a 16-year-old female driver.

Learn More: Compare Car Insurance by Age and Gender

Tips to reduce the number of miles you drive in a year

If your average annual mileage is high, it may be worthwhile to look for ways you can lower it. Here are some ways to reduce the number of miles you drive per year: 

  • Walk or ride your bike. For nearby errands, try walking or riding your bike instead of driving.

  • Take advantage of public transportation. In cities that offer public transportation, try to use that instead of driving to work. Not only will public transportation cost less, but it’s also safer than driving. It’s 10 times safer per mile than driving in a car, according to the American Public Transportation Association.[5]

  • Carpool to work. If you have coworkers who live nearby, you might see whether a few of them want to set up a carpool to work to reduce the amount of time everyone spends driving.

  • Use ridesharing services. When you’re going out, consider using a ridesharing service instead of driving.

  • Ask for a hybrid work schedule. Try to work remotely even one or two days per week if your employer will allow it. This drastically cuts down on the amount of time you spend driving each year.

See Also: Pay-Per-Mile Car Insurance: A Guide

Miles driven per year FAQs

Your average annual mileage affects how much you spend on car insurance, not to mention how much you can expect to pay on gas and vehicle maintenance. Find answers to questions about why your average mileage matters below.

  • Is 20,000 miles per year high mileage?

    Since the average American drives 13,476 miles a year, 20,000 miles would be considered high mileage and will likely result in higher insurance premiums.

  • What age group drives the fewest miles?

    Young and senior drivers drive the least. Drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 drive the least, with an average annual mileage of 7,624. Drivers over the age of 65 were a close second, with an annual mileage of 7,646.[1]

  • Can you get an insurance discount for low mileage?

    Yes, if you drive fewer than 7,000 miles a year, you may qualify for a low-mileage discount. The exact amount you save will depend on your insurance provider. However, shopping around and comparing rates is your best bet for saving money on auto insurance.

  • Why do insurance companies charge more for high mileage?

    Car insurance companies charge drivers with high mileage more than those with low mileage because added mileage increases a driver’s risk of getting into a car accident and filing an insurance claim. More time spent on the road increases your risk levels.

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  1. U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. "Average Annual Miles per Driver by Age Group." Accessed January 9, 2023
  2. Policy and Governmental Affairs Office of Highway Policy Information. "Highway Statistics Series." Accessed January 9, 2023
  3. Kelley Blue Book. "Average Miles Driven Per Year: Why It Is Important." Accessed January 9, 2023
  4. Insurance Information Highway Safety. "Fatality Facts 2020 Males and Females." Accessed January 9, 2023
  5. American Public Transportation Association. "Public Transportation Facts." Accessed January 10, 2023
Jamie Johnson
Jamie Johnson

Jamie Johnson is a Kansas City-based personal finance writer whose work has been featured on several of the top finance and business sites in the country, including Insider, Credit Karma, Bankrate, Rocket Mortgage, Fox Business, Quicken Loans, and The Balance. For the past six years, she's dedicated more than 10,000 hours of research and writing to more than 2,000 articles about personal finance topics.