With more and more workers moving to the cities, megaregions are expanding, and as they grow, so do average commutes in terms of miles and time spent. It isn’t uncommon at all nowadays for employees to commute an hour or more to and from work—and sometimes even from one city to another.
But just how much does that cost? The answer is actually quite staggering. For each mile between home and the office, the average worker will spend $170 in annual car expenses. If that worker earns $25 an hour, and that amount is used to calculate the cost of lost time, that tacks on an additional $625 per year for a total of $795.
Remember, that is per mile, so for an 11 mile commute, that is $8,745. Now just think what that could add up to if you were commuting across a megaregion. Say for example you lived in Imperial Beach, CA, and commuted 48 miles to Carlsbad and back each day for 96 miles total. Multiply that by $795, and you get $76,320.
And now consider that some people commute even farther in that megaregion, clear up to Los Angeles from San Diego.
This is why one of the best ways to save money is simply to stop driving to work. Public transit may be more economical if one can work on the trolley or bus. Another option is to relocate. It may seem expensive in the short run, but considering it might save thousands of dollars per year, it would pay for itself in no time at all.
Each extra mile you add to your drive to and from work can cost you thousands of dollars over a thirty year career. What are the true costs of your drive to work when you add up all those hidden expenses? Based on number crunching by Mr. Money Mustache, each mile in your commute costs $795 per year. But that cost goes up drastically when you factor in lost opportunity.
This feature was contributed by Anastasia Ivanov of InvestmentZen.