HomeResourcesBlogCOVID-19 Impact: U.S. Fleet Miles drop 17%, Recovering Fast
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COVID-19 Impact: U.S. Fleet Miles drop 17%, Recovering Fast

By Verizon Connect November 30, 2020

Landscaping and gardening only industry to see an increase (5%) in total hours driven

Michigan worst hit in terms of miles driven reporting a 43% drop 

Based on Verizon Connect Reveal customers in the U.S. and Europe (including Italy, France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, Ireland and Portugal) measured between February 18, 2020 and May 5, 2020, it’s evident that many fleets have seen a decrease in miles driven in recent months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic—but some are already recovering. 

The driving impact has been less severe in the United States than in Europe, but U.S. commercial fleets saw an almost 17% decrease in miles driven as of April 7, and many U.S. industries were affected by varying degrees. To understand the impact of COVID-19 Verizon Connect studied the data from 1,032,001 vehicles.

However, more recent data has shown that this reduction is recovering quickly. As of May 5, the U.S. decrease has bounced back to close to 9%. Below, we’re sharing the numbers in greater detail by region and exploring which industries have been impacted the most.

Michigan experienced greatest decrease in U.S. driving hours

In comparing the U.S. states in terms of the greatest percentage decrease in hours driven leading up to April 7th, Michigan came out on top with -42.6%, followed by Vermont (-36.1%), North Dakota (-30%), Washington (-29.2%) and New Hampshire (-28%). The states that saw the lowest decrease percentage were South Carolina (-2.5%) and Iowa (-0.05%). Two states actually increased their percentage of driving hours: Georgia (2.5%) and Nebraska (2.9%).

After one additional month, however, many states have seen some recovery. From April 7 to May 5:

  • Michigan saw driven hours rise from -42.6% to -23.8%
  • Vermont saw driven hours rise from -36.1% to -21.1%
  • Washington’s decrease in driven hours went from 29.2% to 11.6%
  • New Hampshire went from a 28% decrease to a 20% decrease
  • Georgia saw an 11.8% increase in driven hours in May, and Nebraska saw a 6.9% increase

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U.S industries impacted at different rates

It’s apparent that not all fleet-dependent industries in the U.S. have experienced the same impact as a result of the pandemic. Of the many commercial fleet industries that operate in the U.S., landscaping and gardening has seen an increase (5%) in total hours driven. This is likely due to the nature of the industry heading into the typically busy season of spring and summer.

While not a positive increase, landline communication and cable TV services are showing less disruption, with only a 5% decrease in total hours driven. This isn’t surprising, given companies in this industry are helping people to stay connected, work from home and ensure they can have the goods they still need delivered.

Harder hit are the house works and business-to-business services industries, which have experienced 17% and 15% decreases respectively. The U.S. commercial fleet sector that has been impacted the most is local passenger transportation, including taxis, public transportation and charter buses. To date, this industry has seen a staggering 58% decrease in drive time.

France, Great Britain, Spain experience greatest European driving decreases from February-April

Overall, the impact of the pandemic on commercial fleet operations has been greater in Europe than in the U.S. European countries have demonstrated a steep reduction in fleet activities that correlates with the timing of lockdown measures being put into place.  While European daily average traffic dropped from 145K vehicles to under 100K between February 18, 2020 and April 7, 2020, U.S. traffic dropped from a daily average 635K vehicles to 575k vehicles during the same timeframe.

On average as of April 7, only 22% of fleets in the U.S. have experienced reductions in drive time by more than 50%. This is in contrast to almost 50% of European fleets that have experienced similar reductions in drive time. And the amount of fleet owners who’ve seen more than half of their vehicles taken off the road is only 8% in the U.S. versus 24% in Europe.

France, Great Britain and Spain have seen the greatest percentage reductions in hours driven: -57.6%, -54.6% and -54.4% respectively. The remainder of the European countries measured have experienced driving hour reductions as follows:

  • Ireland: -40.6%
  • Portugal: -39.3%
  • Italy: -38.8%
  • Germany: -11.3%

It’s possible the less severe U.S. dropoff could be due to the U.S. having greater average traffic in the first place, or could be due to COVID-19 reaching the U.S. later than European countries, resulting in travel and movement restrictions being put into place later in March.

May data shows potential for continued recovery

Since early April, many European countries have also seen some significant recovery. Here is how the U.S. and European countries stack up as of May 5:

As COVID-19 and the nation’s response to the pandemic continue to impact the day-to-day realities of fleet-based businesses in the U.S., it’s important to stay informed. For the latest on the imapct of pandemic on the industry, trade and economy, visit our blog

Verizon Connect

Verizon Connect Staff represents a team of professionals passionate about everything telematics. Get to hear about the latest trends, product features and industry best practices from the desk of Verizon Connect Staff.

Tags: COVID-19

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