UPDATE 1-U.S. road travel topped pre-pandemic levels in November, up 12%

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By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON, Jan 24 (Reuters) - U.S. motorists driving in November topped pre-pandemic levels and rose 12.3% over the same month in 2020 as more Americans returned to offices and leisure trips, a government agency said.

The Federal Highway Administration said on Monday motorists drove 267.5 billion miles (430.5 billion kilometers) in November, up 29.2 billion miles over November 2020 and above the 260.3 billion miles in November 2019. For the first 11 months of the year, road travel is up 11.2%, or 298.1 billion miles, to 2.96 trillion miles.

The first 11 months of travel nearly matched the 3.00 trillion miles for the same period in 2019. The current moving 12-month average of 3.2 trillion is also close to the 3.27 trillion for the 12-month period ending in November 2019.

The numbers reflect more Americans traveling for leisure and more returning to offices in 2021. But the figures are for travel before the beginning of the Omicron spike that has caused some people to put on hold returning to work or traveling. (Reporting by David Shepardson Editing by Chris Reese and Sandra Maler)