How Much Does Your Commute Suck?

One of the most painful things of any person’s day is the commute to and from work.

In the morning, you’re half asleep, stuck in traffic surrounded by a bunch of idiot drivers, and heading into a job you’d rather not be at. In the afternoon, you’re drained from sitting through boring meetings, being stuck in traffic surrounded by a bunch of a-holes, and probably heading to a hectic situation at home.

Driving your car used to be a release. Now it’s just an added stress.


Thankfully, according to a recent poll, it appears that most of us don’t have to spend a “significant” amount of time blowing a gasket while bonding with our fellow commuters.

When asked “How long (on average) does your roundtrip commute take?” nearly 250 Daily Fuel Economy Tip readers responded with the following answers:

  • 44% – Less than 30 minutes
  • 26% – Between 30 minutes and 1 hour
  • 19% – Between 1 and 2 hours
  • 11% – Greater than 2 hours

A roundtrip commute of less than 30 minutes really isn’t all that bad. I know I’d enjoy that.

And with a one-way commute of about 15 minutes, it sort of begs the question: how many of these people walk or take mass-transit?  Nothing like letting someone else do all of the driving.

What’s your commute like?  Leave your comments below.

It’s The Commute, Stupid

You’ll have to forgive me for the rather abrupt title, which is a ripoff of a James Carville inspired slogan for the 1992 Clinton presidental campaign, but I need it to make a point.

The point being: you can blame $4 gas on your morning and evening commute.

America has been built on the notion that personal transportation would always be relatively cheap. The most obvious example of this has been manifested in the exponential growth of suburbs and exurbs during the last two decades.

As we were pushed farther away from cities and their immediate suburbs – which, coincidentally, are where a vast majority of Americans work – and climbed into our cars – in many cases, a gas guzzling sedan, truck or SUV, and almost always by ourselves – we started to put into motion the scenario that’s playing out right now.

Invariably, the more we drove, the more fuel we consumed. Because oil is a finite commodity, the more we demanded, the more we tapped into the world’s ever decreasing supply.

In order to get a better idea of how far the average American commutes to and from work, I recently added a poll to Daily Fuel Economy Tip which asked the following: “How far is your commute (round trip) to and from work?” Here’s how nearly 200 people responded:

  • 29% have a commute that is longer than 31 miles
  • 28% have a commute that is between 11 and 20 miles
  • 25% have a commute that is less than 10 miles
  • 18% have a commute that is between 21 and 30 miles

If you were to assume that the average commuter vehicle on the road gets about 21 miles per gallon – which isn’t a stretch considering all of the trucks, mini-vans and SUVs on the road – then nearly half of Americans burn more than a gallon of gas per day just to get to and from work.

While that may not sound like much, over the course of a year, that’s over 18 billion gallons of gasoline, assuming a total workforce of 150 million individuals.

Back when oil was $25 a barrel and gas was $1.25, it didn’t really matter what type of gas mileage our vehicle got or how far we drove to and from work because at the end of the day, it wasn’t going to cost much to fill up. In fact, it cost so little to fill up that even driving a gas guzzling Suburban was probably just as cheap as using public transportation, not to mention the fact that it was much more convenient.

Unfortunately, it appears that this perpetuated even more driving, which continued to push up demand on what has become an increasingly limited supply.

Don’t forget, as our demand continued to grow relatively unchecked, our friends in developing nations such as China and India began to consume more oil, thanks in large part to growing middle classes that could now afford automobiles.

So here we are now, with oil pushing $135 a barrel, a national average gas price of just under $4 a gallon and a razor thin margin between the world’s supply and demand for oil.

Happy commuting.

SEO Powered By SEOPressor