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This Is How Much Money Your Commute Really Costs

Remote work and telecommuting have become increasingly more common for workers and companies across the country — especially now that COVID-19 means major companies are asking their employees to work from home full-time until the risk of infection passes. 

But for the 77% of Americans that still commute daily, a lot more of their paychecks go towards commuting than you might think.

In fact, the average American loses almost $2 an hour driving to work every day

The team at Frontier Business wanted to know how much money Americans spend commuting to work every day, so we created a tool to tell you how much you actually make per hour after you factor in the cost of your commute.

Here’s what they discovered:

State Highlights

  • Excluding DC, New Jersey is the worst state for percent of wages lost to commute costs, with an average percent decrease in income at 10.58%
  • Alaska has the smallest average wage decrease by commute at 5.29%, closely followed by South Dakota at 5.5%
  • While New Jersey may be the worst state by percent of income lost, Connecticut commuters have the greatest cost by actual dollar amount: they lose an average of $3.53 per hour
  • Only 12 states have average commute times under 20 minutes one way. All other states’ average commute times are somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes one way. 

Metro-Area Highlights

  • Average commute times in the New York-Newark-Jersey City metro area have the biggest impact on commuters’ wages: workers in this area lose an average of 13.14% of their income to their commute, costing nearly $5 per hour of driving. 
  • They also have the longest commutes: these drivers spend nearly two weeks every year in their cars, simply going to and from work. 
  • While commuters in the the New York-Newark-Jersey City metro area may be losing the greatest percent of their income, commuters in the greater Washington DC metro area have the greatest dollar cost to their daily commutes at $5.88 per hour of driving. 
  • Vernon, Texas, has the shortest and most affordable commute across all cities nationwide, costing the average commuter there only $0.97 per hour driven — the only city in the country with an hourly commute cost under $1.
  • Commuters in Los Alamos, New Mexico, seem to be getting the best bargain for their commute. With the highest median income by metro area in the nation ($110,190.00), drivers in Los Alamos are only losing 6.14% of their income to their commute and have an average travel time of just 15 minutes.

Want to calculate your commute? Click here to use the Calculate My Commute.

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