Did you know the average American spends almost $1,000 a month commuting to work by car?
Parking garages, parking meters, and parking tickets — not to mention gas, car insurance, and maintenance. Let’s face it, driving to work is expensive for many Americans.
In fact, this is what the average cost of driving in the United States looks like.
- 17 hours per person a year searching for parking
- $72.7B per year on parking costs
- $2.6B a year in parking tickets and fines
- $1,483 per year per motorist in car insurance premiums
- $3,000 per year per motorist on gasoline
- Nearly $100 a month on auto maintenance
In short, the true average cost of owning a car in the United States is just shy of $1,000 a month (if you also have a car payment).
The cost of public transportation
Plenty of motorists are making the switch to public transit when and where it’s available. Major cities like San Francisco, New York City, Seattle, Pittsburgh, and Chicago have public transportation that’s (on average) less expensive than owning and driving a car every day.
For example, New York City costs about $435 per month per person to get around town. That’s less than half the national average for car commuters each month — sounds like a sweet deal.
But the true savings kick in when you start riding a bicycle.
How much does a bicycle cost?
After you purchase a bike, all you need is a few bucks here and there for maintenance, and less than $10 a month for insurance. That’s it.
But let’s break it down anyway.
- The average cost of a new road bike is between $350 and $700
- Mountain bikes cost around $1,000 on average
- Single-speed bicycles are roughly $400 for a new model on average
- Annual maintenance costs about $185 per year for road cyclists
- Bike cleaning supplies like degreasing agents and chain lube is about $50 a year
- Bicycle insurance policies start around $8 per month
When you compare the cost of commuting with a road bike vs. with a car, the savings are undeniable. Here’s a side-by-side comparison.
Average monthly cost of commuting with a car:
Average monthly cost of commuting with public transit:
Average monthly cost of commuting with a bicycle:
If you’re lucky enough to live in a bike-friendly city, you’ll probably have access to dedicated bike lanes, bicycle racks, and even recreational bike paths for weekend trips.
It’s a little tricker for commuters who don’t live in a bike-friendly city. And the American Community Survey shows us that less than 1% of all Americans bike to work. Biking to work is a challenge if you don’t live in a place that’s built with bikes in mind.
Electric bicycles enhance commutes
This is where electric bicycles fill in gaps. E-bikes make it easier for Americans to get around town, especially in areas that are challenging for traditional bicycles.
Brands like Rad Power Bicycles, Juiced Bikes, and Super 73 offer electric models with miles and miles of range — and nice wide tires and saddles to support off-roading or long rides if necessary.
The average cost of an electric bicycle is about $400 to $2,000 depending on the model you want to ride. Many e-bike manufacturers even offer discounted or free shipping to anywhere in the United States or Canada.
Check out some of the most popular electric bicycle brands available on the market:
- Rad Power Bicycles
- Juiced Bikes
- Super 73
- Electric Bike Company
- Coastal Cruiser
Plus, most ebike models are affordable to insure against theft, damage, and accidents.