Improved economy has U.S. driving more

WASHINGTON - U.S. highway travel rose 1.9%, or 4.9 billion miles, to nearly 260 billion miles in October over the same month a year ago, the U.S. Transportation Department said on Monday.

October was the second biggest increase in monthly highway travel this year after a 2% jump in March, and reflects an improving economy. The gain occurred even though gasoline prices rose 12 cents a gallon during the month.

Driving increased in every region of the country during October, with highway travel rising the most in both the south Gulf states and the north-central states, with a 2.9% rise for each region.

The number of miles driven during the first 10 months of this year is up 0.6%, or 16 billion miles, from the same period in 2009, the department said.

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