Transportation costs can be a major financial burden to many households. These costs include the cost of fuel, vehicle maintenance and repair, and purchasing a new or used vehicles, along with other costs such as public transit. Argonne is performing research to quantify these costs to individual households relative to their income, to identify locations where transportation burden is particularly high.
Fuel costs are generally high cost, along with being the most volatile cost component of household transportation expenses. Recent work for the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has quantified the household transportation energy burden for households nationwide. The national average household transportation fuel cost has a population-weighted mean value of 3.3% of total income, though at the census tract level this ranges from under 0.1% to over 20% of annual income. These variations in fuel expenditures highlight the need for fuel-efficient vehicles, especially in low-income communities.