Household Spending on Transportation

Household Spending on Transportation

On average, households spent $7,825 (in chained 2000 dollars1) on transportation in 2002. This represented 19 percent of all household expenditures that year. Only housing cost households more (33 percent)2 [1].

Over the last 10 years, consumer spending on private transportation (mainly motor vehicles and related expenses) increased (figure 6-1). On average, households spent $3,711 purchasing new and used motor vehicles in 2002, up 47 percent from $2,517 in 1992. Spending on other vehicle expenses, including insurance, financing charges, maintenance, and repairs, also increased from $1,712 to $2,370 (39 percent). Meanwhile, gasoline and oil expenditures rose 8 percent, to $1,366 in 2002. On average, households spent almost $400 on other transportation in 2002, an increase of 6 percent between 1992 and 2002.


1. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Survey, available from, as of March 2004.

1 All dollar amounts are expressed in chained 2000 dollars, unless otherwise specified. Current dollar amounts (which are available in appendix B of this report) were adjusted to eliminate the effects of inflation over time.

2 The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) collects these data. In its survey, BLS uses the term consumer units instead of households and public transportation rather than other transportation. There are an average of 2.5 persons in each consumer unit, according to BLS (see the full definition on figure and table 6-1). Public transportation, according to BLS, includes both local transit, such as bus travel, and long-distance travel, such as airplane trips.