Transportation Economic Trends
Cost of Transportation:
Costs Faced by Households
Households pay for travel in two ways, either by paying to own and operate passenger vehicles for their own use, or they pay fares to use for-hire passenger transportation services (e.g., air, transit bus, and rail services) for their intercity and intracity travel. For total household expenditures on transportation see Household Spending on Transportation.
- On average, consumers faced higher transportation costs in 2022 than in 2021 (a 15.5 percent increase). Private transportation costs increased by 15.5 percent in 2022, bringing private transportation to a new all-time high. Public transportation increased by 19.9 percent in 2022, bringing it to its second-highest level - 0.6 percent below the all-time high reached in 2013.
- Within private transportation, the cost of other motor fuels increased the most at 53.4 percent in 2022 followed by gasoline (all types) at 36.0 percent and tires at 13.6 percent.
- In real dollars, domestic airfare (scheduled service) in 2022 increased by 51.0 percent from 2021 which is 17.4 percent above the pre-pandemic 2019 airfare. Amtrak rail fares also increased in 2022 by 6.1 percent from 2021 and 9.3 percent above the pre-pandemic 2019 rail fares. The 2022 real dollars domestic airfare and Amtrak rail fare both reached new all-time highs.
- Transportation fares decreased in real dollars in 2020 when the demand for public transportation declined due to uncertainty about COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders but remained above the lowest fares. Transit fares continued to decrease in real dollars in 2021 by 6.0 percent and commuter rail fares increased by 0.4 percent (2022 data not available yet).