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Household Spending on Transportation

Household Spending on Transportation

On average, households spent $7,406 (in chained 1996 dollars1) on transportation in 2001. This represented 21 percent of all household expenditures that year. Only housing cost households more (31 percent) [1].

Over the last 10 years, consumer spending on private transportation (mainly motor vehicles and related expenses) increased (figure 33). On average, households spent nearly $3,600 on new and used motor vehicles in 2001, up 47 percent from about $2,500 in 1991. Spending on other vehicle expenses, including insurance, financing charges, maintenance, and repairs, also increased from about $1,720 to nearly $2,400 (14 percent). Meanwhile, gasoline and oil expenditures rose 3 percent, to nearly $1,100 in 2001. On average, households spent almost $400 on “other transportation”2 in 2001, an increase of 6 percent between 1991 and 2001.


1. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Survey, available from http://www.bls.gov/cex/home.htm, as of February 2003. Note: the survey data are collected in terms of consumer units rather than households. There are an average of 2.5 persons in each consumer unit.

1 All dollar amounts are expressed in chained 1996 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 In its survey, the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses the term “public transportation,” rather than “other transportation.” This category includes both local transit, e.g., bus travel, and long-distance travel, e.g., airplane trips.

Updated: Saturday, May 20, 2017