Study: These 10 cities have the most expensive journeys

(NEXSTAR) – You probably weighed health, retirement and other benefits before taking your last job, but what about the cost of commuting?

Since many companies are bring employees back in the office when the price of gasoline is reach historic heightsjust the cost of driving to work can add up quickly, depending on where you live.

A study by Autoinsurance.org ranked US cities by average commute cost and found that employees on the east and west coasts are worst off when it comes to lost salary dollars on the way to work.

California topped the list of most expensive routes, taking five of the top 10 spots:

City Annual trip cost
Fremont, California $15,005
San Francisco, California $13,015
Jersey City, New Jersey $10,602
Arlington, Virginia $10,385
New York, NY $10,275
San Jose, California $9,813
Seattle, WA $9,790
Irvine, California $9,526
Oakland, California $9,176
Chicago, IL $8,033
(autoinsurance.org)

If you’re looking for a cheap ride, you might want to consider Texas. According to the survey, four of the 10 cheapest rides are in the Lone Star State.

The cheapest route in the country is to Lubbock, TX ($2,874 per year), followed by Laredo, TX; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Wichita, Kansas; Corpus Christi, Texas; Norfolk, Virginia; El Paso, TX; Memphis, TN; Tucson, Ariz.; and Cleveland, Ohio – all with an annual cost of less than $4,000.

Unsurprisingly, Lubbock average travel time to get to work was also the shortest, at just over 16 minutes.

The study authors used data from the 2019 U.S. Census American Community Survey to determine average commute times, median earnings, and average hours worked. To see assuranceauto.org for more information on the methodology and additional results.

Hafsa Batool, who works with digital marketing and e-commerce agency Skill Dollars, points out that the impact of cost isn’t felt the same when it comes to getting around.

“The higher your pay grade, the less likely you are to notice the cost of travel,” Batool said. “For someone earning $100,000 a year, travel will likely be less than $10,000, making it a relatively minor expense. But if you make $30,000 a year (or even just $50,000), that same expense can add up to 25% or more of your income.

The cost of travel is not only a consideration for employees, but also for employers after more than 4 million workers left their jobs in February in the so-called “Big resignation.”

A March 2022 Pew Research Center survey found that 63 percent of those who quit said low pay was a factor in their decision.

For many employers, forcing a return to work without adding the right incentives can be a tough sell when it comes to bringing in new hires.

“Remote work isn’t going away as the pandemic becomes rampant,” said Patrick Denver, owner of CouponNinja.com. “Companies that refuse to offer hybrid models and force employees to return to the office full-time will have a hard time retaining employees. Many employees have realized that the freedom of the work-from-home model is simply unbeatable. Returning to an office building will be difficult.

For anyone trying to save money on commuting, AutoInsurance.org suggests following your budget and exploring other modes of transportation, including carpooling, car sharing, bicycling, public transport or walking. Experts also suggest spreading out travel time to avoid traffic and planning ahead where you’ll park at your destination, if possible.

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