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 2021 than in 2020 (14.6 percent increase). Private transportation costs increased by 15.6 percent and public transportation by 1.7 percent.
- Within private transportation, the cost of gasoline (all types) and used cars and trucks increased the most at 36.0 percent and 26.6 percent, respectively.
- 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. In 2021, the average Amtrak rail fare and domestic airfare for scheduled service increased in real dollars by 3.5 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively.