Commuter Woes

Houston may have the longest commute, but at least parking is cheap

Houston may have the longest commute, but at least parking is cheap

Austin traffic highway I-35 congestion
We may sit in traffic for hours — but at least it's cheap to drive and park. Courtesy photo

When it comes to commuting, Houston fares pretty well it turns out — at least cost-wise. According to a new Lending Tree report, while Houston has the longest commute, it is still one of the cheapest major cities in which to drive and park a car or use public transportation.

Using the average of a 22 work-day month, Lending Tree broke down the costs for major transportation modes (driving, public transportation, taxi, Uber) to determine how much it costs to commute in major U.S. cities. 

It costs $288.61 per month to drive and park a non-electric car in Houston, the fourth lowest among cities studied. The study also found that Houston commuters would save $28.39 per month if they drove an electric vehicle versus an average car.

Distance-wise, Houston tied with Dallas for the longest commute (12.2 miles), while Boston came in with the shortest (5.5 miles), followed by Portland (7.1), Milwaukee (7.4), and New York (7.7).

When it comes to public transportation, Houston fared very well, coming in as the fourth least expensive at $66 a month (Washington, D.C., was the most expensive at $237). Dallas, however, ranked fourth more expensive at $120.

That same 12.2-mile Dallas commute will set you back $1,301.96 a month using a taxi or $511.92 for Uber (which is the third most expensive incidentally, just ahead of Dallas at $500.28).

A few other interesting tidbits from the study: the most expensive monthly Uber cost is $705.10 (New York), and that’s lower than even the cheapest taxi cost on the list; in Boston and Miami it’s cheaper to take an Uber each day than to drive and park; and it’s cheaper to ride public transit for a full year than just one month of taxi rides in Minneapolis, San Diego, San Francisco, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Seattle, or Detroit.

Cost of commuting aside, the study says nothing about the psychological cost of sitting in Houston rush hour traffic. Judging by the solid red Google maps we see every day at 5 pm, though, we’re guessing that’s pretty high too.