Transportation Economic Trends

Household Spending on Transportation:

Total National Household Spending

Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE), produced by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), is the broadest measure of consumer spending in the U.S. economy. It measures total national household spending on goods and services, as discussed on this page. Data and discussion on average household spending from the Consumer Expenditure Survey also available. 

2021 Year-in-Review

  • Transportation accounted for $1.6 trillion (9.8 percent) of total national household spending (including spending on behalf of households, such as employee transit subsidies) in 2021, making transportation the fourth largest household expenditure category after healthcare, housing, and food  (when excluding other expenditures).
  • After a 14.0 percent decline from 2019 to 2020, total national household spending on transportation increased by 28.9 percent from 2020 to 2021 (not adjusted for inflation).
  • Of the components making up household spending on transportation, motor vehicle fuels, lubricants, and fluids increased the most, at 50.9 percent, from 2020 to 2021 (not adjusted for inflation), followed by motor vehicles and parts (29.0 percent), transportation services (20.7 percent), and motor vehicle insurance (1.9 percent). Except for motor vehicle insurance, spending grew more, year-over-year, in 2021 than in any previous year (with data beginning in 2003).
  • Before increasing in 2021, motor vehicle fuels, lubricants, fluids, declined 27.2 percent, transportation services declined 25.7 percent, and motor vehicle insurance declined 2.4 percent from 2019 to 2020. Spending on motor vehicles and parts contrastingly increased from 2019 to 2020 by 3.3 percent before increasing more in 2021.

Total National Household Spending on Transportation | Components of Total National Household Spending on Transportation

Total National Household Spending on Transportation: Personal Consumption Expenditures


Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) measures total household spending on durable goods, such as vehicles; nondurable goods, such as fuel; and services, such as for-hire transportation. It includes spending by governments, employers, and other organizations on behalf of households—for example, employee transit subsidies.
PCE measures total national spending only; it does not measure differences in household spending by income or social group. The Consumer Expenditure Survey details spending by select household characteristics.
Transportation accounts for a small portion of PCE and as a percent of PCE, fluctuates little over time.
PCE are one part of final demand for goods and services. Transportation PCE account for about three-fourths of total final demand attributed to transportation.                                                                                                                                                                     

Total National Household Spending on Transportation | Components of Total National Household Spending on Transportation

Components of Total National Household Spending on Transportation: Personal Consumption Expenditures

Total national household spending on transportation is the sum of: personal (household) consumption expenditures on motor vehicles and parts; motor vehicle fuels, lubricants, and fluids; motor vehicle and other transportation insurance; and transportation services (e.g., passenger airfare).
Personal consumption of motor vehicles and parts accounts for the largest component of household spending for transportation.

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Recommended citation
U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Transportation Economic Trends, available at www.bts.gov/product/transportation-economic-trends.

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is the preeminent source of statistics on commercial aviation, multimodal freight activity, and transportation economics, and provides context to decision makers and the public for understanding statistics on transportation.
Contact us: 
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