Rising cost of commuting leaves Americans feeling worse off

Jun 06 2007 by Nic Paton Print This Article

More Americans than ever are feeling out of pocket, as rising gas prices have caused the cost of the daily commute to work to rocket.

The number of U.S. workers who felt their finances were improving slipped to 41 per cent in May, according to research by consultancy Hudson.

This was down from the 44 per cent recorded in March and was the lowest figure recorded since the start of the year, it said.

A key factor in this sense of pessimism was record fuel prices eating into workers' take-home pay.

"Record gas prices this early in the year have increased workers' anxiety when it comes to their finances," stressed Robert Morgan, president of Hudson Talent Management.

"To help ease this burden, which will likely only intensify in the summer months, employers should consider supporting their staff with gas-saving initiatives including carpooling, flextime and telecommuting," he added.

The sheer scale of the daily commute for many workers has also been emphasised in British research by the RAC Foundation.

It has concluded that the average commuter in effect circles the globe 2.5 times during the course of their working career.

Some 25 million British workers commute to and from a fixed place of work every day and more than seven out of 10 of them travel by car.

This meant some 18 million people fighting with daily frustration of congestion on the road network, it concluded.

The past ten years had seen a trend for fewer, but longer commuting journeys, it also found, with long-distance commuting (of more than 50 miles) on the increase.

Around four million people now worked from home or act as "mobile workers".

As congestion increased and reliability on the road network became less certain this trend was likely to continue, the foundation predicted.

The average commuter travelled for 58 minutes a day and one in ten people had a daily journey in excess of two hours.

"Extreme commuters" Ė or those who commuted at least three hours per day Ė made up 3 per cent of the working population, it added.