Should I drive an hour to work?

You can calculate the cost and make your own decision.

Let's use a 15-minute commute as the standard.

  • An hour of driving is about 40 miles. Assuming your car gets 20 miles per gallon, you'll be spending 4 gallons a day. At around $3 per gallon, that's $12 a day. A standard commute would cost you $3 a day. The difference is $9.
  • The IRS pegs the standard mileage rate at 54.5ยข per mile in 2018. As you're traveling 60 more miles a day, you're putting an additional $32.70 worth of wear and tear on your car.
  • Assuming you're paid $30 an hour, you're out $45 a day that you could have earned otherwise.

So far you have spent about $87 per business day. Assuming 260 business days a year, you're short $22,620 annually.


  • If it's the only job you can find, then the calculation is meaningless. Earning $22K less is still much better than earning $0.
  • If the distant job pays more than $22K above local ones, then it's worth considering.
  • If living close to work means paying more than $22K in rent or mortgage, then commuting two hours a day makes sense.
  • If living close means paying more than $22K in private school tuition for your kids because the local public schools are bad, then residing in a good public school district an hour from work is reasonable.

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