Most workers commute to work as vehicle costs increase, study finds

124 million Americans commuted in 2022
Published: Nov. 9, 2023 at 2:01 PM CST
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(InvestigateTV) — Around 77% of workers in the U.S. drove or carpooled to work in 2022, according to NerdWallet’s vehicle ownership cost index.

NerdWallet’s analysis looked at the true cost of owning a vehicle – including expenses like insurance, maintenance, parking and buying gas – not just the purchase price.

Elizabeth Renter with NerdWallet said they found those expenses grew at an annual rate of 11% in September and have gone up 35% since 2019.

Renter said one of the big drivers of the increased ownership costs is auto insurance. She recommended consumers to shop around.

“Get online and get a couple of quotes. Call your insurer and see if you’re missing out on any discounts,” Renter suggested. “We know that only about one fourth of Americans do this every year, according to a survey we did this spring. And it’s an important step that can save you quite a bit of money.”

To cut the cost of buying gas, Renter said rewards credit cards can provide cash back or points and could bring as much as 5% cash back for fuel purchases. Gas apps and reward programs can also help.

“So, when you’re standing at the pump and you see this sign that like earn points and every 100 points gets you a nickel. It doesn’t sound like a whole lot but you’re never only adding a gallon of gas to your vehicle, right? And it does add up,” Renter explained. “Certain grocery stores, for example, allow you to earn points toward gas discounts, if that’s your go-to grocery store, you’re in their spending money, you could accumulate enough points to save 50 cents a gallon. And if you’re filling a minivan, 50 cents a gallon is considerable on a full tank.”

Lastly, NerdWallet reminds consumers that carpools are a great way to save gas, as well as wear and tear on your vehicle.