The High Cost of Transportation in the United States


What does the average American pay to get around every day in 2024? What portion of their income is devoted to transportation? Is that cost typical across developed countries? The answer is no. The portion of household expenditure spent on transportation in the United States is often a larger portion than that spent by many throughout the world. This difference is even more stark among low income earners and marginalized communities, despite US government subsidies in transportation. According to the US Department of Transportation, transportation remained one of the highest annual consumer expenditures, totaling $12,294.90 a year. In 2021, while 90% of Americans had one car, nearly a quarter of the U.S. population had three or more vehicles. In terms of total national household spending, transportation accounted for a total of $1.6 trillion, making it the fourth highest household expenditure in America. After a decline between 2019-2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, from 2020-2021 the total national household spending on transportation increased by nearly 30%. 

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