The Cost of Commuting

The Cost of Commuting
Commute Times

Whether you walk, bike, ride or drive to work, one factor is constant: commutes take time. We recently compiled data on average (mean) commute times for the largest 100 U.S. statistical areas, and ranked them from longest to shortest. Because the vast majority of Americans commute by car, we also included an estimate for the cost of fuel.

Here are some key findings from our study:

  • New York City, the largest city in the U.S. Census top 100 Urban Areas, also has the longest average commute, at 36 minutes.
  • The estimated annual fuel cost for the shortest commutes (Des Moines & Omaha - $549) is almost half the cost of the longest commute (NYC - $1041).
  • Most of the country’s 20 largest cities have an average commute at least 30 minutes.
  • Excluding the 20 largest urban areas, the median commute time is 24 minutes, with an estimated annual fuel cost of $694.

This study, which relies on data from the 2012-2016 American Community Survey for mean commute time, calculates fuel cost based on an analysis of rush-hour commute times and corresponding distances between multiple randomly-chosen locations. We also assume 250 commuting days per year, a U.S. average of 24.7 miles per gallon, and gasoline prices of $3.

Aaron A
Aaron A.