Time is Money: New Coast Study Reveals the Cost of Commuting in the U.S.

NEW YORK, April 16, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — With burgeoning traffic congestion and rising fuel costs, a new study by Coast is revealing the true costs of commuting, both in terms of time and money.


Using U.S. Census data to analyze commute times and costs across the top 100 U.S. metro areas, Coast, a startup focused on revolutionizing payments for transportation and the trades, determined the financial cost of car commuting by considering average commute mileage and factoring in gas, maintenance, and insurance costs using data from sources such as StreetLight Data, AAA, Policygenius, and the EPA.

The financial cost of public transportation commuting was found by analyzing the monthly transit pass prices sourced from APTA’s public transit fare database and local transit authority websites. From there, Coast calculated the annual expenses for public transit commuting in both large metro areas, which have bus and rapid transit services (metro, subway, light rail), and smaller metro areas, which have primarily bus service.

Key Findings

  • Opting for car commuting over public transit can save an average of 38 minutes per day, while public transit users save significantly on annual costs, ranging from $600 to $976.
  • The average American car commuter spends 25.4 minutes per day commuting, amounting to nearly 19 hours each month and over a year throughout their working lifetime.
  • Public transit commuters spend an average of 44.6 minutes per day commuting, translating to over two years throughout their working lifetime.

The U.S. cities with the longest car commutes to work:

  1. Riverside, CA – 32.6 minutes
  2. Stockton, CA – 32.5 minutes
  3. Washington, D.C. – 31.7 minutes
  4. Atlanta, GA & New York, NY – 30.7 minutes
  5. Poughkeepsie, NY – 30.6 minutes

The U.S. cities with the shortest car commutes to work:

  1. Wichita, KS – 20.0 minutes
  2. Omaha, NE – 20.4 minutes
  3. Provo, UT – 20.8 minutes
  4. Toledo, OH – 20.9 minutes
  5. Rochester, NY – 21.1 minutes

The U.S. cities with the longest public transit commutes to work:

  1. Memphis, TN – 88.5 minutes
  2. Poughkeepsie, NY – 86.0 minutes
  3. Stockton, CA – 85.1 minutes
  4. Bridgeport, CT – 71.1 minutes
  5. New Haven, CT – 63.7 minutes

Here are the U.S. cities with the shortest public transit commutes to work:

  1. McAllen, TX – 22.3 minutes
  2. Augusta, GA & Omaha, NE – 23.9 minutes
  3. Greenville, SC – 24.8 minutes
  4. Birmingham, AL – 24.9 minutes
  5. Greensboro, NC – 27.4 minutes

You can find the full study here.

Founded in 2020 by Daniel Simon, Coast is a smart fuel card and modern expense management platform built on the Visa network. With Coast, crew members can fill up anywhere their Visa is accepted and pay for parking, tolls, maintenance, supplies, and more. Flexible controls let you set the spending rules that make sense for your business. Ease of use and responsive customer service make Coast the only 5-star-rated fuel card on the market.

Media contact:
Shohini Bhattacharya