By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA

American motorists drove nearly 7 billion more miles in April 2016 than in April 2015, a 2.6 percent increase, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The agency said April was the 26th consecutive month of year-over-year increases in vehicle miles traveled. Drivers collectively covered an estimated 272.8 billion miles of streets, roads and highways.

Mileage increases were greatest in the West (3.1 percent) and South-Atlantic (2.9 percent) regions, with only the Northeast (1.3 percent) failing to top 2 percent growth.

The 2.6 percent rise in April was the lowest year-over-year increase since January, when road travel puttered at 1 percent growth, according to agency data. Still, cumulative travel for the first four months of 2016 is up 3.7 percent.