NEW YORK, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Motorists drove a record 3.22 trillion miles (5.2 trillion km) on U.S. roads last year, a 2.8 percent rise from 2015 and the fifth consecutive year of year-over-year increases, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation on Tuesday.
Motorists logged 263.6 billion miles on U.S roads in December , a 0.5 percent increase over the previous December, the DOT data showed.
Vehicle miles traveled are closely watched by energy analysts and traders, as its a good indicator of gasoline demand in a country that accounts for 10 percent of global gasoline consumption.
U.S. gasoline demand for 2016 is expected to be at record levels when the U.S. Energy Information Administration releases new data later this year.
U.S. gasoline demand is showing signs of weakness early in 2017, stoking fears that it could hamper the recovery of global crude oil prices.
Reporting By Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Marguerita Choy