WFH saved Americans $90B in commuting costs: analysis

Savings on gas, maintenance, repairs and time are $758M per day: Upwork

TRD NATIONAL /
Sep.September 01, 2020 04:00 PM
Americans saved $90 billion by working from home in the pandemic, according to a new study from Upwork (Getty)

Americans saved $90 billion by working from home in the pandemic, according to a new study from Upwork (Getty)

During the pandemic, many companies implemented a work-from-home policy to comply with local rules and to keep their employees safe.

The policy — which has rocked the office real estate market — has also resulted in huge savings on commuting costs: Americans collectively saved $90 billion by not commuting by car in the months since the pandemic-induced lockdown, according to new research from freelancing platform Upwork cited by CNN.

Americans traveled nearly 37 billion fewer highway miles in June compared to a year ago, according to the Federal Highway Administration. That translates into $758 million in daily savings on gas, car maintenance and repairs, as well as the costs that driving imposes on society, such as congestion and pollution, Adam Ozimek, chief economist at Upwork, told CNN.

Also included in the calculation is time: The Department of Transportation estimated that every commuting hour by car costs Americans $12.50, and Upwork used the figure to reach the $90 billion estimate.

Many of the world’s biggest companies have indicated that employees will work from home deep into next year, and that they would be open to many of those employees working from home permanently. Those decisions have asked existential questions of office landlords.

[CNN] — Akiko Matsuda


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