Spinning our Wheels

Spinning our Wheels is a commuting blog about the challenges of getting around Atlanta by car, bus, MARTA, bicycles and on foot written by transportation reporter David Wickert

The cost to drive in metro Atlanta: $11,578 a year


The same folks who told you Atlanta has some of the world’s worst traffic have some more bad news.

A new study by the transportation firm INRIX Inc. shows metro Atlanta motorists pay some of the nation’s highest driving costs. That includes direct costs like parking fees and car ownership (purchase or leasing costs, insurance, fuel, etc.) as well as indirect costs like time and fuel wasted while sitting in traffic. 

Add it all up, and Atlanta drivers paid an estimated $11,578 per motorist in 2017 – the eighth-highest cost among 30 U.S. cities studied. New Yorkers paid the most ($18,926), followed by drivers in Los Angeles ($14,834) and San Francisco ($14,625). 

The national average cost of driving was $10,288. 

“The true cost of driving was staggering, but what was truly surprising was the size and breakdown of the hidden costs,” said Graham Cookson, the company’s chief economist. “Parking, for example, made up a third of the total cost of vehicle ownership. On average, drivers spent more than $3,000 a year on all parking-related costs.” 

You can read more about the INRIX report here.


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About the Author

David Wickert writes about transportation issues for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He previously worked for newspapers in Washington state, Illinois, Virginia and Tennessee.