How Much Does Your Commute Really Cost

When we look at traveling for our jobs, many of us drive long distances and think it’s “no big deal”. You might be a business owner who requires your employees to come from into the job from a neighboring city or town. Some people choose new jobs for the money but if you have to commute a long distance to that job, it might not really be saving you money after all. There are more expenses than just gas to take into the account, such as vehicle wear and tear and maintenance and the lost time spent driving when you could be doing other things.

Could your commute actually be costing you money? Mr. Money Mustache gives us a good explanation of this:

But this misconception about what is a reasonable commute is probably the biggest thing that is keeping most people in the US and Canada poor.

Did you read that correctly? Could your commute actually be causing you to lose money? While the idea of a higher paying job sounds good, it’s not really beneficial to you if you have to drive to work. Driving any distance to work is going to cost you money but the longer and farther you have to go, the more your costs will go up. You’re probably not getting paid for your travel time and if you have a family, you might be paying extra childcare fees as well. Do you eat at home and bring all meals and snacks with you or do you purchase food on the drive to save time? There’s more money wasted on your commute.

So just how can you figure out exactly how much your commute is costing you?

Commute Cost Calculator

Do you want to find out how much you are actually spending on your vehicle commute costs alone? Commute Solutions has a commute calculator that lets you enter your commute and vehicle cost information into the calculator to get your monthly cost for commuting. It might be more than you think!

Keep in mind that these costs are for the travel only- gas and mileage. This is not factoring in lost time for the travels. For example, let’s say you are “only 30 minutes” from your workplace. And let’s say also that you can actually make it in a straight shot with no traffic. That’s 60 minutes a day just in travel.

If you work 5 days a week, that’s 5 extra hours to your work schedule that you do not get paid for. That’s 20 hours a month. Let’s say you make $20.50 per hour. This travel is costing you over $400 a month!

Why Telecommuting Offers Benefits

Now we’ve mentioned how it can benefit both parties to have employees telecommuting but how do you keep track of those who work from home? This is one of the biggest problems employers have. They ask “How do I know my people are not goofing off on the company dime?” Well, here’s a good question; how do you know they aren’t doing so when they drive in to work every day?

No matter where the location of your employees, it pays to have some type of accountability and tracking software to keep up with what they are doing. If they’re working from home, you can track them just as easily as if they are working in an office. The main difference is that those who work from home are more motivated to complete the work so they can do other things whereas those who are stuck at a desk all day are often just looking for a way to fill the hours in their day.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the benefits to telecommuting to both employees and employers.

Benefits for Employers

There are many benefits for employers to offer telecommuting to their employees. One of the main benefits is a reduction in days missed. An employee who misses work can cost a company a great deal of money over the long term. There can be a wide variety of reasons why an employee would call in; when they are sick, children who are sick and cannot go to school or daycare and car problems. When an employee telecommutes, the work can still be accomplished.

Also, it takes money to set up work areas for employees in any office setting. This can run into quite a bit of money for a company. Do not forget that when there is an office full of computers, there is also a need for a full IT department to manage and repair them. When an employee is telecommuting, there is no need to pay for this office space.

Benefits for Employees

The cost of commuting for employees is quite high and depending on the length of the commute and salary, commuting can run close to a hundred thousand dollars over a ten-year period. So working from home can add up to huge savings that can go to other aspects of one’s life. There is more productivity because the employee does not have to rush out of the office when their shift is over nor do they have to take as many sick days. This leaves them with more time to spend with family. The true cost of commuting for work is more than you would image. Your car alone can lose you a lot of money over years of commuting.

Again, Mr. Money Mustache gives us a breakdown of car depreciation values:
If you buy the right car for $5,000, you might be able to squeeze 100,000 miles out of it with no major repairs. In this case the car depreciation is 5 cents per mile.

– Gas, at $3.50 per 35 miles (assuming 35MPG), is 10 cents/mile
– Tires, at $300 per 50,000 miles are 0.6 cents
– Oil, at $25 per 5,000 miles is 0.5 cents
– Miscellaneous things like wipers and occasional maintenance visits: $200 per 20,000 miles = 1 cent


So the simple version is this: driving costs you money. The farther you drive, the more it costs.

Are you sure that commuting is really the best option for you or your employees?

Do you commute for work or have you done so in the past? How far do you travel daily?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s