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Commuting by car in the Boston area is unusually expensive, study says

Drivers can spend nearly $10,000 a year getting to and from work—it’s probably the housing costs

A spaghetti-like vehicular intersection with a lone biker trying to navigate the converging car traffic. Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Boston area is one of the most expensive metropolitan areas in the United States for commuting by private vehicle, with the average annual cost totaling $9,716.26.

That is according to an analysis that Clever, an online real estate referral service, released recently. The study analyzed solo drivers in terms of fuel and maintenance costs as well as earnings lost because drivers were commuting rather than working.

Boston-area drivers spend more than 30 minutes on average commuting, according to Clever, and some $473.71 annually on maintenance costs for their vehicles. Fuel costs average $636.68.

All of this placed the metro region among the priciest nationally, with only a handful of metros more expansive. They’re the usual suspects too—Washington, Seattle, San Jose, San Francisco, and New York—the same metros that typically rank with Boston in terms of housing costs.

Which helps explain the high commuting costs, as Boston-area residents push farther from commercial centers in search of less expensive housing. The high housing costs also help explain why the region’s traffic is so congested, which helps explain why the commuting costs are so high ... and around it goes.

Meanwhile, it appears unlikely that the region’s traffic congestion will ease in 2020, though its housing prices might come down a bit.