Personal Finance

22 Cities Where Residents Spend the Most on Transportation

Upset woman driving a car
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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on CoPilot.

A year and a half into the pandemic, COVID-19 is still having profound effects on the global economy.

The abrupt shutdown of many aspects of daily life from last spring has diminished, but the economic recovery has been inconsistent, affecting supply and demand differently across sectors. This unsteady path to economic recovery has stoked fears of inflation, as prices in many sectors are showing dramatic fluctuations and challenging household spending.

And one area where these economic effects are clearly evident is in consumer spending on transportation.

Data from the Consumer Price Index, a common measure of inflation, reveals the extent of the pandemic’s effects on household transportation spending. Gasoline prices collapsed last spring in the wake of COVID-19 shutdowns but began to recover as motorists returned to the roads later in the summer of 2020. Meanwhile, the market for new and used cars has been one of the most notable economic stories coming out of the pandemic.

With global supply chain breakdowns dating back to early 2020, many car manufacturers have been unable to obtain the parts needed to produce typical numbers of new vehicles. With a shortage of new cars, used vehicles have seen dramatic increases in value, with a 45% increase in prices from June 2020 to June 2021.

These rising costs are likely to put additional strains on Americans’ household spending.

To identify the metropolitan areas where folks spend the most on transportation, researchers at CoPilot analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on the nation’s largest metros.

Here is how the nation’s largest metros stack up on transportation spending.

22. New York, NY

New York City coastline
IM_photo / Shutterstock.com

Transportation spending share of total: 12.5%

Total transportation spending: $9,255

Vehicle purchases: $2,219

Gas, other fuels, and motor oil: $1,521

Public and other transportation: $1,874

Other vehicle expenses: $3,641

Average annual expenditures: $73,806

21. San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, California
IM_photo / Shutterstock.com

Transportation spending share of total: 12.7%

Total transportation spending: $11,103

Vehicle purchases: $3,796

Gas, other fuels, and motor oil: $2,123

Public and other transportation: $1,736

Other vehicle expenses: $3,448

Average annual expenditures: $87,287

20. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN

Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis
Roger Siljander / Shutterstock.com

Transportation spending share of total: 13.2%

Total transportation spending: $11,049

Vehicle purchases: $3,705

Gas, other fuels, and motor oil: $2,216

Public and other transportation: $1,465

Other vehicle expenses: $3,664

Average annual expenditures: $84,006

19. Honolulu, HI

Honolulu, Hawaii
MNStudio / Shutterstock.com

Transportation spending share of total: 13.2%

Total transportation spending: $8,403

Vehicle purchases: $2,865

Gas, other fuels, and motor oil: $1,851

Public and other transportation: $1,143

Other vehicle expenses: $2,543

Average annual expenditures: $63,481

18. Chicago, IL

Chicago, Illinois
Kristopher Kettner / Shutterstock.com

Transportation spending share of total: 14.0%

Total transportation spending: $9,084

Vehicle purchases: $3,188

Gas, other fuels, and motor oil: $1,882

Public and other transportation: $1,059

Other vehicle expenses: $2,955

Average annual expenditures: $64,804

17. Boston, MA

Boston skyline summer day.
Danica Chang / Shutterstock.com

Transportation spending share of total: 14.1%

Total transportation spending: $11,779

Vehicle purchases: $4,941

Gas, other fuels, and motor oil: $1,857

Public and other transportation: $1,398

Other vehicle expenses: $3,584

Average annual expenditures: $83,297

16. Seattle, WA

Seattle, Washington
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Transportation spending share of total: 14.2%

Total transportation spending: $11,506

Vehicle purchases: $3,902

Gas, other fuels, and motor oil: $2,290

Public and other transportation: $1,625

Other vehicle expenses: $3,689

Average annual expenditures: $81,266

15. Washington, D.C.

U.S. Capitol
Orhan Cam / Shutterstock.com

Transportation spending share of total: 14.3%

Total transportation spending: $13,646

Vehicle purchases: $5,712

Gas, other fuels, and motor oil: $2,107

Public and other transportation: $1,990

Other vehicle expenses: $3,837

Average annual expenditures: $95,441

14. San Diego, CA

The skyline of San Diego, where median rent is well below median mortgage payments
Dancestrokes / Shutterstock.com

Transportation spending share of total: 15.1%

Total transportation spending: $11,704

Vehicle purchases: $3,334

Gas, other fuels, and motor oil: $2,576

Public and other transportation: $1,504

Other vehicle expenses: $4,291

Average annual expenditures: $77,451

13. Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia cityscape
Tupungato / Shutterstock.com

Transportation spending share of total: 15.4%

Total transportation spending: $11,136

Vehicle purchases: $4,037

Gas, other fuels, and motor oil: $1,908

Public and other transportation: $1,280

Other vehicle expenses: $3,911

Average annual expenditures: $72,460

12. Atlanta, GA

Atlanta, Georgia, Piedmont Park skyline autumn
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Transportation spending share of total: 15.4%

Total transportation spending: $9,862

Vehicle purchases: $3,071

Gas, other fuels, and motor oil: $2,338

Public and other transportation: $1,083

Other vehicle expenses: $3,370

Average annual expenditures: $64,103

11. Dallas-Fort Worth, TX

Aneese / Shutterstock.com

Transportation spending share of total: 15.6%

Total transportation spending: $10,472

Vehicle purchases: $3,601

Gas, other fuels, and motor oil: $2,277

Public and other transportation: $846

Other vehicle expenses: $3,748

Average annual expenditures: $66,966

10. Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles
ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com

Transportation spending share of total: 15.7%

Total transportation spending: $10,959

Vehicle purchases: $3,435

Gas, other fuels, and motor oil: $2,890

Public and other transportation: $910

Other vehicle expenses: $3,723

Average annual expenditures: $69,824

9. Denver, CO

Denver, Colorado
EdgeofReason / Shutterstock.com

Transportation spending share of total: 16.2%

Total transportation spending: $12,331

Vehicle purchases: $4,641

Gas, other fuels, and motor oil: $1,943

Public and other transportation: $1,121

Other vehicle expenses: $4,626

Average annual expenditures: $76,274

8. Houston, TX

Houston, Texas
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Transportation spending share of total: 16.4%

Total transportation spending: $12,352

Vehicle purchases: $4,413

Gas, other fuels, and motor oil: $2,390

Public and other transportation: $1,320

Other vehicle expenses: $4,228

Average annual expenditures: $75,288

7. Baltimore, MD

Baltimore
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

Transportation spending share of total: 17.1%

Total transportation spending: $13,255

Vehicle purchases: $6,482

Gas, other fuels, and motor oil: $2,100

Public and other transportation: $1,146

Other vehicle expenses: $3,527

Average annual expenditures: $77,598

6. St. Louis, MO

St. Louis, Missouri
KENNY TONG / Shutterstock.com

Transportation spending share of total: 17.2%

Total transportation spending: $11,123

Vehicle purchases: $5,070

Gas, other fuels, and motor oil: $2,097

Public and other transportation: $695

Other vehicle expenses: $3,262

Average annual expenditures: $64,777

5. Detroit, MI

Detroit
Jason Grindle / Shutterstock.com

Transportation spending share of total: 17.3%

Total transportation spending: $11,260

Vehicle purchases: $3,507

Gas, other fuels, and motor oil: $2,111

Public and other transportation: $703

Other vehicle expenses: $4,939

Average annual expenditures: $65,163

4. Anchorage, AK

Anchorage, Alaska
Rocky Grimes / Shutterstock.com

Transportation spending share of total: 17.3%

Total transportation spending: $13,313

Vehicle purchases: $5,539

Gas, other fuels, and motor oil: $2,363

Public and other transportation: $1,594

Other vehicle expenses: $3,816

Average annual expenditures: $76,784

3. Tampa, FL

Tampa, Florida
kevin-j-king / Shutterstock.com

Transportation spending share of total: 18.1%

Total transportation spending: $10,692

Vehicle purchases: $4,903

Gas, other fuels, and motor oil: $1,814

Public and other transportation: $743

Other vehicle expenses: $3,232

Average annual expenditures: $59,193

2. Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix, Arizona
Anton Foltin / Shutterstock.com

Transportation spending share of total: 18.8%

Total transportation spending: $12,525

Vehicle purchases: $5,890

Gas, other fuels, and motor oil: $2,151

Public and other transportation: $734

Other vehicle expenses: $3,750

Average annual expenditures: $66,489

1. Miami, FL

Miami, Florida
littleny / Shutterstock.com

Transportation spending share of total: 19.0%

Total transportation spending: $10,915

Vehicle purchases: $3,108

Gas, other fuels, and motor oil: $2,421

Public and other transportation: $759

Other vehicle expenses: $4,626

Average annual expenditures: $57,472

Methodology

A man studies financial data at his computer
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The data used in this analysis is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Consumer Expenditure Survey. To determine the cities where residents spend the most on transportation, researchers calculated total transportation spending as a share of total spending in each metropolitan area.

In the event of a tie, the metro with the higher total consumer transportation spending was ranked higher. Only the 22 metropolitan areas with data available from the BLS were included.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.