Traffic Volume Rises In January By 1.6%, Largest Gain In 15 Months, But Gas Consumption Is Falling?Mark Perryupdated Mar 24, 2012TweetAt GET.com we maintain complete editorial integrity on our content & provide transparent & unbiased information. Companies don't pay us to include their products although we receive a compensation when you successfully apply to products from our partners. See how we make money here.At GET.com we maintain complete editorial integrity.Steve Hayward and Charles Hugh Smith have recently pointed to falling gasoline consumption, based on these EIA data that show a steep drop in retail gasoline sales in November and December. Some are saying that this drop in gas consumption signals a decline in economic activity with the possibility that we're headed towards a sharp contraction and double-dip recession. But the recent Federal Highway Administration report on monthly traffic volume is telling a much different story of fairly large increases in monthly vehicle miles for the months of December (1.3%) and January (1.6%) compared to their year-ago levels (see chart above). The 1.6% increase in January to 224.8 billion vehicle-miles from 221.3 billion a year ago is the largest monthly increase since October 2010. Further, the moving 12-month total of vehicle travel increased in both December and January, following 9 straight months of decline. I'm not sure who to reconcile these two completely different stories of falling gas consumption but rising travel volume - how can that happen? Perhaps the January gasoline consumption data (not yet available) will show a rise? Editorial Disclosure: Any personal views and opinions expressed by the author in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of GET.com. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the companies mentioned, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.