Working from home – The cost (or savings) of the commute

Working from home has lots of benefits that could never be measured, but it has some that absolutely can!

Before I started working from home I was driving 45 miles each way, 5 days a week. That means I was traveling 90 miles every day, 450 miles/week, or about 21,600 miles/year just between home and work.

The car I was driving when I finished my last job got almost exactly 30 miles/gallon (not bad for a V6 Buick Century) meaning I was using 15 gallons of gas every week adding up to about 720 gallons of gas in a year.

With gas prices consistently over $2/gallon that 720 gallons of gas would cost me at least $1,500/year. Now, mind you, we’re not even counting oil changes and the cost of the vehicle itself.

The commute was taking me about 45 minutes each way (sadly this isn’t the longest commute I’ve ever had.) That adds up to 7.5 hours/week or 360 hours/year. (Yes, for those of you keeping track, that’s 15 days.)

My commute was a bit long, but in 2003 the US Census Bureau reported that an average daily commute to work lasted about 24.3 minutes. That still adds up to 194.4 hours or 8.1 days per year.

I don’t know how much an impact 21,600 miles of travel has on the roads and public services, but I’d file it under “not insignificant.” Why there aren’t government incentives for employers allowing telecommuting I do not understand. Perhaps with increased realizations about global warming and our economy’s dependence on oil the government and employers will finally take notice of the economies of telecommuting.

Food for thought: If an employee can telecommute one day each week they will reduce their commuting cost and impact by 20%.