One of the exercises in my Personal Marketing class is to calculate the cost of driving to work.  I have decided to share this information with all my readers.

First let’s define some automotive expenses related to driving to work (Gas, Oil, Tires, Insurance, Vehicle Replacement, Vehicle Registration, Monthly Parking, Tolls, and Driving Time)


  • Actual Hwy MPG = (Percentage of trip traveling 60 MPH) x Hwy MPG
  • Miles Per Gallon = (Actual Hwy MPG + City MPG) / 2
  • Miles Per Gallon x Cost Per Gallon

Your Hwy MPG only counts when you’re traveling at Hwy speeds.


  • Oil change every 5,000 miles, since most of the miles are on the freeway


  • 60,000 mile tires
  • $125 / tire

Assuming a quality tire that’s made for commuting


  • Minimum Coverage
  • Uninsured motorist


  • The fee you pay to get to the other side


  • Garage Parking usually applies when you live or work in a large Metro area.

Vehicle Replacement

  • Reliable miles
  • I once had a neighbor that drove his car back & forth to work and did regular maintenance on his car.  He had a policy of replacing his car after it hit 100,000 miles.
  • My cars have been very good for me.  With regular maintenance, they have served me over 200,000 miles without any major issues.  So, I replace my cars at 200,000 miles.
  • Let’s take the average and say a car should be replaced with another car at 150,000 miles.
  • If you bought a slightly used car that has 30,000 miles on it, and drove it until it had 150,000 then you can expect 120,000 miles out of it. 


  • The fee you pay to the government for use of your car

Driving Time

  • Driving Cost = Hours per day x Hourly Wages

Actual Commuting Costs

Description 30 miles 60 miles
2 trips miles per day 60   miles 120   miles
5 days miles per week 300   miles 600   miles
50 weeks miles per year 15,000   miles 30,000   miles
Annual Gallons of Gas = miles/mpgs 500 gallons  1,000 gallons 
Annual Oil changes at $20 per change  $60   $120  
Annual Gas @ $3.50 per gallon   $1,750     $3,500  
Annual Tire Wear at $125 per tire x 4 0.25   $125  0.50   $250  
Annual Insurance   $720   $720
Annual Registration   $120   $120
Annual Commuting Cost    $4,275     $7,710  
Monthly Commuting Cost divided by 12    $357     $643  
Monthly Tolls    
Monthly Parking   0   0
Total Monthly Commuting Cost    $357     $643 

The Actual Monthly Commuting cost pictured here doesn’t include the cost of Monthly Tolls or Parking.  If you heed the warning signs and decide now that you will set aside that much each month then, when it comes time to maintain or replace your car, you won’t be surprised.  You’ll be expecting it and you’ll be prepared.