Most Expensive Cities For Commuting Revealed

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Current gasoline prices are shown in California
A U.S. postal worker puts his seatbelt on after filing up his vehicle at a gas station in Garden Grove, California, U.S., March 29, 2022.

New York City may be known as one of the more expensive places to try to live and work. Still, at the moment, it isn’t the most costly place to commute to, since many are able to go to the city without using their cars—and are therefore not necessarily feeling the impact of high gas prices.

The average price per gallon of gas in the United States has reached a new high, with AAA reporting an average price of $4.45. Naturally, some states are paying a much higher price than that, and even within states, prices can vary widely depending on location and zip code. However, when it comes to breaking down which cities seem to have the most expensive commutes with current gas prices, a new study by Clever, an online real estate brokerage service, it found that cities that are most often associated with the expensive cost of living like New York aren’t among the top 15.

Using a methodology of different factors for their ranking, including the annual cost to commute as a percentage of average income, the annual fuel cost of a workday commute per resident, annual hours lost to traffic and congestion, the annual maintenance cost of commuting, the distance of commute, average annual insurance premium, how much potential annual income is lost due to commuting, time to work and the average miles per hour achieved during a commute, Clever found that, unsurprisingly, five of the cities that cracked its list were all in the same state that is currently paying the highest price per gallon on average—California.

According to AAA, the average cost for a gallon of gas in California right now is $5.93, and the cities of Riverside, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Sacramento all cracked the Top 10 of most expensive commuting cities. Riverside, which sits east of Los Angeles and south of San Bernardino, actually took the top spot on the list, with Clever estimating those in the city spend about $1,225 a year on work commutes. Los Angeles ranked at number three with a cost of $1,211, while San Diego came in at number five, with a cost of $1,156. San Francisco ranked at #7, with an annual cost of $1,077 and Sacramento rounded out the top 10 at $1,309.

Other states that had the most expensive gas price average that had cities in the top were Arizona (Phoenix ranked at number 2 with a price of $1,224), Illinois (Chicago came in eighth at $1,058) and Washington (Seattle ranked at number 12 with a total cost of $1,001). Washington D.C., which also carries higher gas prices, also ranked on the list, closing out at number 15 with an annual commute cost of $903.

Other cities which ranked on the list, but were located in states with a lower average price per gallon, were Houston (Number 6 at $1,080), Dallas (Number 9 at $1,055), Nashville (Number 11 at $1,019), Detroit (number 13 at $989) and Birmingham, Alabama (number 14 at #924).

The most surprising ranking came in regards to Atlanta, Georgia, which ranked number four on the list with an average annual cost of commuting of $1,180. However, Georgia is currently the state with the cheapest gas in the United States, with an average price of $3.97 a gallon.

Current gasoline prices are shown in California

Photo: Reuters / MIKE BLAKE

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