Author Topic: How much does my commute cost me?  (Read 775 times)

cbr shadow

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 466
How much does my commute cost me?
« on: September 12, 2017, 05:38:16 PM »
I work for a large tech company that has a shuttle service that I don't use. I'm wondering how much realistically I'm losing by not taking advantage of that free benefit.

Relevant Information
Currently: I purchased my 2012 Prius for $9,000 with 77k miles on it. I use this daily to/from work. My commute is 24 miles each direction, or 48 miles total. This takes 50 minutes on average in each direction with average traffic. I average 52 mpg, so I burn roughly (1) gallon of gas daily.

Shuttle Option: A shuttle could pick me up 1.5 miles from my home. This would require a short bike ride (bike can be loaded onto the shuttle).

I decided to drive to work rather than take the free shuttle because I like the flexibility of driving (leaving the house when I want to, within a 60 minute range). I've also just gotten used to it and haven't thought about it much.

I realize there are definitely OTHER COSTS to driving to work besides gasoline. Depreciation, consumables like tires and oil changes, maintenance etc. What's a good way to calculate these costs over a long period of time? I've been driving to work for just over a year, only taking the shuttle 2-3 times.  I've seen the MMM blog post about "The Real Cost of Commuting" but do you think those numbers are realistic?  Maybe on average, when you factor in that some people drive F150's, the IRS's estimates are correct at $0.50/mile.. but I can't imagine I'm paying $24/day.  Thoughts?

Should I switch? Almost certainly the answer is yes.. but what am I currently spending by not taking this benefit?



  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5343
  • Location: BC
Re: How much does my commute cost me?
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2017, 06:23:53 PM »
CCRA mileage cost estimates include insurance, and are only for the first 3k or so miles per year, then there is a reduced rate.   I have found it pretty accurate.  It is based on a  3-4 year old sedan (such as a ford taurus or honda accord), with depreciation, maintenance, fuel and insurance, replaced every 6 years or so.

The rates are: The automobile allowance rates for 2016 and 2017 are:
54 per kilometre for the first 5,000 kilometres driven; and
48 per kilometre driven after that.

Ignoring the km versus miles and US versus CDN, I think you can take the ratio of 48:54 and apply it to you.

So,  if you are at $0.50 per mile for the first 3000 miles, then 44.5 cents per mile thereafter..
Assuming 48 miles per day x 5 days per week x 46 weeks per year (net of vacation and federal holidays) = 11,040 miles per year.
3000 miles x 50 cents = $1500
8040 miles x 44 cents = $3537

Total = $5037 per year.    Plus parking (if any) minus bike costs (if any).

You need to decide how much less a prius costs to operate, than a 4 year old gas sedan, and adjust the final total.


  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 596
Re: How much does my commute cost me?
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2017, 07:24:19 PM »
The big question is would you own a car if you didn't use it to get to work? If yes, then the commute costs you virtually nothing but time, and biking 1.5 miles while short, would cost more time... But the time on the shuttle bus you might be able to use more productively or more enjoyably (work, reading, etc.).

Amortize up front car costs over a decade or two and project your annual expenses over that time.


  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 932
  • Location: London, UK
Re: How much does my commute cost me?
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2017, 12:55:49 PM »
What about the time you'll free up by not driving? You'll be free to read/make calls/chat etc and can use this time very well if you plan it out.

Also I find the walking to transit gives you a small amount of exercise, and a chance to see and appreciate the weather and nature each day, much more than you would going by car door to door.

I'm a red panda

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6308
  • Location: United States
Re: How much does my commute cost me?
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2017, 12:59:02 PM »
Are there any provisions if you have to leave work at a non-standard time?
(For instance, my last company had an employee shuttle. They would pay a taxi home up to 4 times a year say if you got sick or your kid needed to be picked up from school early.)

That flexibility is a lot of the reason I like to drive to work (though my commute is short).

But I think 55 minutes to nap, read, knit- man, I'd be pretty excited about that, especially since it is free.