If so, consider the gasoline intensity of GDP:
Figure 1: Log gasoline supplied to real GDP ratio, in (thousand bbls/day)/(4xbn Ch.2012$/yr) (blue), NBER defined peak-to-trough recession dates shaded gray. Gasoline supplied adjusted by Census X13, log transform, X11 seasonal adjustment. Source: EIA, BEA, NBER, and author’s calculations.
Gasoline supplied is decreasing by 5 ppts faster than real GDP growth per annum (in log terms). Or, the ratio of gasoline supplied to real GDP is decreasing by 5 ppts per year. Moreover, given structural changes in American shopping and commuting habits over the past two years, I would be particularly wary of relying on changes in gasoline use or vehicle miles traveled as a way of inferring economic activity.