The Clever Real Estate Study of the Cost of Commuting, and California Cities

I drove on the freeway on a weekday, for two hours, yesterday, so it is timely to report on another study on the cost of commuting.  This one, by Clever Real Estate, lists the top 50 cities in terms of the basic auto commuting costs, and the time spent at the average salary of each city.  The costs exceed those of a previous study by about $2,500 to $3,000.

With the list, there was a very disturbing number for the average commuting mpg, which is only 21.1 mpg.  The average mpg on the CAFE standard course has moved up from 25 to 26 mpg.

Paul Krugman has been discussing life expectancy in different regions of the country.  This survey showed that the percent in poor of fair health varies, with the South having 19%, the Midwest 15% and the Northeastern at 15%, and the West 16%.  Krugman associated this with the states that have not embraced state dependent Medicaid.

The Western states have an average fuel and maintenance costs from $1200-1250, Southern states are $1300-1350, North Central states are $1150-1200, and Northeastern are $1200-1250.

The national average cost of commuting is $6,449, and uses up 200 hours a year.

We list the top cities including enough to contain the California cities, the time to work in minutes, and the yearly cost, rounded off:

Washington, D.C.   37.04   $12,016

San Jose, CA            31.05.  $11,853

San Francisco, CA  32.46   $11,377

New York, NY          35.47   $10,569

Seattle, WA               30.70   $10,132

Boston, MA               30.66   $9,716

Baltimore, MD          31.66   $9,206

Phoenix, AZ               28.40   $9,190

Denver, CO                31.34   $9,056

Sacramento, CA        26.63   $9,006

Richmond, VA          30.95   $8,690

Riverside, CA            32.00   $8,666

Los Angeles, CA        29.15   $8,651

Houston, TX              30.91   $8,609

Atlanta, GA                31.73   $8,583

Minneapolis, MN     27.82   $8,462

Dallas, TX                  30.37   $8,333

Hartford, CT              25.13   $8,159

Chicago, IL                29.97   $8,108

Detroit, MI                29.28   $8,043

San Diego, CA           25.70   $8,021

Las Vegas, NV          24.50   $8,050

These 22 cities include all those with a cost over $8,000 a year, ordered by cost.  There are 6 California cities in the top 50, at ranks 2, 3, 10, 12, 13, and 21.

We had previously reported a similar cost of commute study by Lending Tree, which also included smaller California cities.  We compare the costs of the Clever and Lending Tree estimates for the six California cities.

City                     Clever    Lending Tree    Difference

San Jose             $11,853.  $8,782             $3,071

San Francisco    $11,377   $11,719           -$342

Riverside             $8,666   $6,079             $2,587

Sacramento         $9,006   $5,694             $3,312

Los Angeles         $8,651   $6,108.             $2,543

San Diego            $8,021   $5,769              $2,252

Except for San Francisco, the added costs of gas and maintenance run from $2,252 to $3,312, including differences in data sources.  There isn’t much difference in commuting time between the two estimates.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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