Commuting to work takes time out of your week and money out of your pocket. If you drive to work, you’re paying for gas, wear and tear on your car, and auto insurance. With costs increasing seemingly everywhere and inflation rising, the cost of commuting has increased for U.S. workers.

Whether you’re just returning to in-office work or you have been, the average annual cost of a commute is significantly more expensive in 2022 than in 2021. At Overheard on Conference Calls, we conducted a study to determine:

  • The annual national average cost of commuting
  • The annual average cost of commuting in 90+ cities
  • The change in commuting costs from 2021 to 2022.

We focused on commuters who drive and determined the annual average cost by analyzing the price of gas, average commute distance, auto insurance costs, and vehicle wear and tear costs. Read on to see our full findings.

Interesting Findings

  • The average annual cost of commuting in the U.S. in 2022 is $2,740 while the average in 2021 was $2,064. 
  • The average American is paying $694 more in 2022 than 2021, a 34% increase.
  • The top 5 cities by dollar increase are: 1. Jacksonville, FL (+$1,169) 2. Orlando, FL (+$1,160) 3. Miami, FL (+$1,136) 4. Tampa, FL (+$1,119)  and 5. Dallas, TX (+$1,087).
  • The top 5 cities by percentage increase are: 1. Cincinnati, OH (54.8%) 2. Columbus, OH (53.7%) 3. Nashville, TN (52.0%) 4. Cleveland, OH (51.2%) and 5. Birmingham, AL (50.8%).
  • The top 5 most expensive cities in 2022 are: 1. Baton Rouge, LA ($3,989), 2. Jacksonville, FL ($3,946) 3. Orlando, FL ($3,935) 4. Miami, FL ($3,893) and 5. Tampa, FL ($3,864).

Table of Contents

Main Findings

Graphic of Annual Cost of Commuting 2022 vs 2021

Our study analyzed data from 2021 and 2022, looking at gas prices, commute mileage, auto insurance costs, and wear and tear costs for Americans who drive to work.

When looking at the national data, we found that on average, workers will spend $694 more in 2022 than 2021. That’s a 34% increase year over year. And that could be higher if prices rise again.

Our study showed the average annual cost in 2021 was $2,046 while the cost in 2022 will be $2,740. 

The largest contributor of this is the increase in gas prices at the pump. American commuters will spend on average $657 in 2022 just on gas, up from $415 in 2021. That’s $242 more, a 58% increase.

Auto insurance and wear and tear were more similar to the increase in inflation, both up roughly 8% year over year.

We also analyzed the costs for 96 cities in the United States. Below are charts for three data points: top cities by dollar increase, top cities by percent increase, and top cities by overall cost. Below those is a searchable and sortable table with data for all of the cities. 

Top 15 Cities by Dollar Increase

The chart above shows the 15 cities with the highest dollar increase. At the top of the list are a number of cities in Florida. Gas prices in the state peaked at an increase of around 60% year-over-year, which made up a significant portion of the increase.

Additionally, the cost of auto insurance increased by over $400, one of the largest increases in the country. 

The only city in the top 5 not in Florida is Dallas, TX. It’s auto insurance and wear and tear costs were fairly standard — around 8% — but the city saw a 64% increase in gas prices at the summer apex. 

Top 15 Cities by Percent Increase

When looking at the data by percentage increase, we get a different view. Instead of Florida cities dominating the top 15, we get a combination of Ohio and Tennessee cities with a few others sprinkled in. 

For Ohio, there was only a small jump in wear and tear (8%) and auto insurance (7.7%). The big jump came in at the gas pump with an over 60% increase during the summer peak. Because Ohio has one of the cheaper average auto insurance rates in country, the increase in the gas made the overall percentage spike.

It’s similar for Tennessee. While auto insurance is a little higher than Ohio, it also had a 55% – 60% increase in gas which, because of the generally low auto insurance rates, made the percentage increase go up significantly. 

Top 15 Cities by Annual Commute Cost

Finally, we wanted to see the most expensive cities for commuting. This list is topped by a surprising cities and dominated by cities in Louisiana and Florida. 

Baton Rogue topped the list as the city with the most expensive commute at just under $4,000 a year.

Florida and Louisiana have two of the most expensive average auto insurance rates in the county. Because of this, they end up topping the overall most expensive commutes despite fairly average gas and wear and tear costs. 

Data for All Cities

The table below is both searchable and sortable. See the yearly costs, the dollar increase, and the percent increase for all 96 cities included in our study.

Final Thoughts

Commuting, like many things in 2022, is more expensive than it was in 2021. And while inflation is reported to have gone up by 8%, the average cost of commuting has rise by 34%.

On average in 2021, Americans paid $2,046 to drive to work. In 2022, we’re predicting it will cost $2,740. That’s an increase of $694. If you’re returning to the office this year, you’re going to feel it in your bank account. 

Editor’s Note: The original data in this study was incorrect and has since been updated. The diligent An-Li Herring at WESA brought to our attention that Bankrate had an unannounced change in their auto insurance cost methodology this year. We apologize for any inaccuracies; our intent always is to present the most accurate data available to our readers.  

Cost Savings of Working From Home

Remote workers and hybrid workers can save significantly by working from home. While a significant cost of owning a car is the car insurance, workers who keep their care but don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on gas and wear & tear. 

Those savings can be hundreds dollars up to a thousand dollars.

These savings can be spent creating a perfect home office or work-from-home setup. If you’re looking for a new office chair, standing desk, or other accessories, we’ve got you covered. Our experts have tested and researched hundreds of home office products.

Check out a few of our product review guides:

Methodology

To find the average annual cost of commuting, we analyzed multiple factors, using both 2021 and 2022 data.

Using Census and government survey data, we found the average commute distance (round trip) in miles for 96 cities.

We multiplied that by the cost of gas and the cost of wear and tear to find a daily commute cost. That was multiplied by a true working day cost (total business days minus federal holidays and average PTO taken) to find the annual yearly cost for the car and gas. That number was summed by an average auto insurance cost to find the grand total annual cost.

We used a Toyota RAV4’s average MPG as it’s been one of the best-selling cars in the U.S. for the last several years.

Those calculations were conducted for each of the 96 cities in the study.

Sources

Eric Moore

Eric Moore is the owner of Overheard on Conference Calls. As a corporate veteran, he's seen and heard it all. And when it comes to office chairs, desks, and accessories, he's used it all. As a former office furniture sales rep, he bring his expertise to provide readers the knowledge to choose the right products for them.