September 21, 2017 / 5:33 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-U.S. motorists kept up record driving pace in July -DOT

(Adds details of record pace so far and unknown impact of recent hurricanes)

NEW YORK, Sept 21 (Reuters) - U.S. motorists logged 0.8 percent more miles on the road in July than they did in the year-ago month, keeping 2017 on a pace to break last year’s record of total miles driven, according to U.S. Department of Transportation data released Thursday. Motorists drove 1.5 percent more miles on U.S. roads through July than in the same period last year, the data shows.

The record pace may eventually be thwarted by historic hurricanes that paralyzed portions of Texas and Florida, two of the most populous states the nation.

The record driving volumes represent good news for U.S. refiners, who expressed some concern earlier this year about weaker gasoline demand. But in June, U.S. gasoline demand rose year-over-year for the third straight month, after several months of year-over-year declines.

U.S. gasoline demand, which accounts for 10 percent of global consumption, has risen each year since 2012.

Motorists logged 283.6 billion miles on U.S. roads and highways in July, up 0.8 percent from last year. Through July, motorists rode 1.86 trillion miles, up 1.5 percent from the same stretch last year.

U.S. gasoline demand and vehicle miles traveled both hit records in 2016. (Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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