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SUNDAY MAY 12: WHAT GOES AROUNDProfile America —
Sunday, May 12th.
It seems like a simple device, really — that a row of numbers on the speedometer that measures how far your car has traveled since it was new, or how many miles you've covered on a trip. Called an odometer, it was used for the first time on this date in 1847 by a Mormon pioneer named
William Clayton, who was crossing the plains in a covered wagon. Up until his invention, elapsed miles were calculated by tediously counting the revolutions of a rag tied to the spoke of one of the wagon's wheels. Today, most of us regularly drive a lot of miles. Smaller cars, light trucks, vans and SUVs average nearly 10,500 miles annually. Larger vehicles cover more than 15,000 miles a year. Trucks drive about 26,000 miles on average each year. You can find more facts about America's people, places and economy from the American Community Survey at
Sources: Statistical Abstract of
the United States 2012, t. 1101
Profile America is produced by the Center for New Media and Promotions of the U.S. Census Bureau. These daily features are available as produced segments, ready to air, on a monthly CD or on the Internet at
http://www.census.gov (look for "Multimedia Gallery" by the "Newsroom" button).
SOURCE U.S. Census Bureau