Blog » Mobility and Transportation

Your Guide to Chicago Transportation Options

If you live in Chicago or want to visit the Windy City, you have a number of Chicago transportation options to choose from. The city is well-known for its public transportation options and was ranked fifth when it comes to the top 10 cities with the best public transportation in the U.S. Here’s your guide on how to get around Chicago. 

how to get around Chicago

Common Chicago transportation options 

If you want to figure out how to get around Chicago, you can start by reviewing the most common Chicago transportation options. 

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) 

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) runs Chicago’s “L” trains which is a nickname that came from the word “elevated”, as many trains are on elevated railways (but not all of them). According to TransitChicago.com, the CTA executes about 1.6 million rides on a typical weekday, serving Chicago and 35 nearby areas. These cover 140 stations throughout the city and beyond. 

The “L” train lines include:

  • The Red Line
  • The Blue Line
  • The Brown Line
  • The Green Line
  • The Orange Line
  • The Purple Line
  • The Pink Line
  • The Yellow Line 

The Red Line runs 24 hours a day and goes between the North and South side and through downtown. The Blue Line also runs 24 hours a day and goes between Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to Forest Park and goes through downtown. The other lines’ hours of operations vary, but many run between 4am to 1am during the week. 

You can use the CTA’s Trip Planner to help you figure out how to get around Chicago and get where you need to go. You can pay for your fare at the station or get a Ventra card or Ventra ticket. The base “L” train fare is $2.50 for one-way. 

The Metra Rail 

Another Chicago public transportation option is the commuter rail known as Metra rail. The Metra rail connects Chicago suburbs to downtown and has the following lines, according to the Metra rail website:

  • Milwaukee District North (MD-N)
  • North Central Service (NCS)
  • Union Pacific North (UP-N)
  • Union Pacific Northwest (UP-NW)
  • Heritage Corridor (HC)
  • Metra Electric District (ME)
  • Rock Island District (RI)
  • SouthWest Service (SWS)
  • BNSF Railway (BNSF)
  • Milwaukee District West (MD-W)
  • Union Pacific West (UP-W)

You can check out a Metra rail system map here. How much it will cost you to ride the Metra rail will be based on how far you travel on the rail and is based on distance. You may be able to get a $10 day pass as part of a promotion for COVID recovery or get a weekend pass for $7. You can use this tool to find your next Metra rail departure to help plan your trip. 

The Water Taxi

One of the unique Chicago transportation options includes taking a water taxi. Residents and tourists can enjoy floating down the Chicago River by water taxi. As of 2018, the Chicago water taxi had more than 400,000 passengers, an innovative solution to dealing with brutal traffic. 

You can score a $6 one-way pass or a $10 all-day pass to board a water taxi. It’s important to note that water taxis are only offered at specific times, and the season is currently over but is expected to resume in the spring of 2022. 

By car 

If you want to figure out how to get around Chicago and have the most control over your time and directions, driving is a good option. Just be aware that you might hit traffic, as Chicago was ranked seventh as part of the top 10 cities with worst traffic in the U.S. 

You can also use this Chicago parking map to see what your options are. Chicago is made up of 234 square miles and comes in the third spot in most populous cities in the U.S. For these reasons, driving by car in the city may be good. If you don’t end up driving that often, you could be a low-mileage driver and can benefit from a pay-per-mile car insurance option like Metromile. 

Bicycle 

Sometimes you just feel like the Queen lyric, “I want to ride my bicycle!” and explore the city on two wheels. The good news is that Chicago is a good place to get around by bike. According to Chicago.gov, the city has 200 miles of bike lanes, 13,000 bike racks, and an 18.5-mile Lakefront Trail. You can get a Chicago bike map here and get info on bike parking. 

Biking can give you a sense of freedom when traveling through Chicago, powered by your own two feet. Be sure to helmut up and bring your bike lock to stay safe and keep your bike intact. 

Walking

One Chicago transportation option to help get your daily steps in is walking. Chicago is a great place to walk, coming in at number 10 in terms of best U.S. cities for walking. By walking through Chicago, you can see the sights in a new way and avoid pesky traffic. Of course, this isn’t an option for all your trips, but if you’re in the downtown area walking can be a good option. Bonus: it’s good for the environment, it’s free, and you can get your steps in for the day. 

Alternative Chicago transportation options 

Aside from the more common Chicago public transportation options and driving, biking, and walking, there are other types of alternatives to use too. Here are some other Chicago transportation options. 

Uber/Lyft 

Ridesharing is here to stay and like many other cities, you can hail an Uber or Lyft as part of your travels in Chicago. Whether you’re a resident or tourist, if you’re traveling in Chicago, you can use your smartphone and use the Uber or Lyft app to get a rider to pick you and take you to your destination. 

The Divvy bike-sharing program 

The Chicago Department of Transportation has partnered with ridesharing giant Lyft to create a bike-sharing program called Divvy. The Divvy bike-sharing program has more than 600 stations and over 6,000 bikes across the Chicagoland area, according to the Divvy Bikes website. 

You can use the app or get an annual membership or pass to book a bike, ride on, and return the bike to a Divvy station. A single ride is $3.30, a day pass is $15, and an annual membership is $9 a month. 

The bottom line 

When figuring out how to get around Chicago, you have an abundance of options to choose from. From the robust Chicago public transportation options to other types of transportation, you can choose to use two wheels, four wheels, your own feet or take the city’s infamous “L” train. 

If you’re a resident of Chicago and don’t drive that often, consider the benefits of pay-per-mile car insurance with Metromile. You pay for gas by the gallon, why not pay for insurance by the miles you drive and an affordable low rate to make sure you’re getting a fair quote? See how much you could save by making the switch. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

How to Get Around Seattle

Seattle is well-known for its stunning geography, lush greenery giving it the name of Emerald City, and its iconic Space Needle. Whether you live in Seattle or are considering a move or vacation there, the good news is there are so many Seattle transportation options. In fact, it was ranked eighth in the top 10 best public transportation options in the U.S. We’re breaking down your guide on how to get around Seattle. 

Your Guide to Getting Around Seattle | Metromile

Most common Seattle transportation options 

When it comes to how to get around Seattle, there is no shortage of options. These options include Seattle public transportation and other options as well. Let’s dive into some of the most common Seattle transportation options that can get you around the city. 

King County Metro Transit bus service

One of the most prominent Seattle public transportation options is the King County Metro Transit bus service which goes through downtown and surrounding areas. 

Bus fare costs between $2.75 to $3.25 for adults and you can download the mobile app to make transit even easier and more seamless. 

To get more information and plan your trip, you can use the King County Trip Planner. You can also get an ORCA Card, which costs $5 and can be used on multiple Seattle public transportation options like this bus service, light rail, and more. 

The Sound Transit Link Light Rail 

The Sound Transit Link Light Rail is another popular Seattle public transportation option, going through downtown for commuters, to the University of Washington for students and SEA-TAC airport for travelers. The light rail comes fairly frequently, about every six, 10, or 15 minutes based on the time of day, according to KingCounty.gov data. 

On top of that, most days you can use the Link Light Rail starting in the early morning, beginning at 5am up until 1am, to accommodate various schedules. However, on Sundays and holidays, you lose an hour on the front and back end, with light rail hours starting at 6am and going to midnight. 

Expect to pay between $2.25 to $3.50, which will vary depending on the distance you travel. You can pay using the Transit GO Ticket mobile app, your ORCA card, or a ticket from a light rail station. 

Streetcars

On top of the more traditional bus and light rail options, there are also Seattle streetcars that you can take when getting around Seattle. Fun fact, Seattle’s first electric streetcars hit the city stage in 1889. 

According to KingCounty.gov, there are two active  Seattle public transportation streetcar options:

The city was in the process of building the Center City Connector but has been on hold due to lack of ridership and funds, due to COVID. 

The First Hill Line connects bustling neighborhoods like Capitol Hill, the International District, and Pioneer Square, and more. You can take this line between 5am and 10:30pm during the week, 6am to 10:30pm on Saturday, as well as 10am to 8pm on Sundays and holidays. The First Line streetcar comes every 12 to 25 minutes, depending on the time of the day. 

The South Lake Union line offers another transportation option from the South Lake Union area to downtown. This line is available from 6am to 9pm during weekdays, 7am to 9pm on Saturday, as well as 10am to 7pm on Sundays and holidays. It costs $2.25 for a single-fare to ride the Seattle streetcar. 

The Seattle Center Monorail 

Seeing the Seattle Center Monorail cascade through the city center is a sight to behold and makes you want to take it whether for fun or to get where you need to go. According to the Seattle Monorail website, more than 2 million passengers per year take the monorail. 

The monorail comes about every 10 minutes and takes passengers between the Seattle Center station and the Westlake Center Mall station. 

To ride the Seattle Monorail, it’ll cost you $3 one-way and you must use an ORCA card or debit/credit for payment. 

Driving in Seattle

Since Seattle is such a public transportation-friendly city, you may not need to drive at all. But there might be some neighborhoods that are easier to access with a car or if you want to go hiking in the area, driving might be your best bet though you may have to deal with traffic. 

The good news is the city is relatively compact, so you may not need to drive that much. If you do drive a stick, beware of some of the hills, especially around Pike’s Place Market. If you’re a resident of Seattle and don’t drive that often, you might get substantial savings by switching to pay-per-mile insurance and pay a low base rate and for the miles you drive, and nothing more. That way you can get rewarded for driving less. 

By bike 

If you’re trying to figure out how to get around Seattle and looking for a flexible option to stop and go, you can explore the city on two wheels as well with a bike. It’s free and you get some built-in exercise, so it’s a win-win. 

You can check out this Seattle Department of Transportation guide to biking around Seattle as well as this bike map of the city. 

Walking 

Another underrated Seattle transportation option is walking! You can go at your own pace and explore the city and see things you can’t always see with a car or on public transportation. 

It’s also kind of like the choose-your-own-adventure option. You can go different routes, stop and see public art, street art, and other things that are unique to Seattle. Similar to biking, it’s also free and is basically getting a mini workout in. 

Alternative and up-and-coming Seattle transportation options

On top of the more common Seattle transportation options listed above, there are also more alternative and up-and-coming transportation options to consider as well. 

Uber and Lyft ride-share options

Using the power of your smartphone, you can quickly and easily secure a ride to get around Seattle using one of the ride-sharing programs. Uber and Lyft are ride-sharing options that you can easily use within the city all from the comfort of your phone. 

Rent a bike with bike-sharing options 

If you want to explore the city or get around by bike, but don’t have your own, don’t fret. The city of Seattle has a bike-sharing program that allows you to use a bike. Simply use your Uber app to reserve a JUMP bike and pay 15 cents per minute. You can also use Lime to get a bike for rent as well. For Lime, costs vary by the minute and it costs one dollar to access the bike and use it. 

Use a scooter to see Seattle 

If you’re curious about how to get around Seattle using more off-the-beaten-path options, consider renting a scooter. The city of Seattle has a scooter-share program so you can get around the city quickly. This can be a good option to go short distances or run a few errands or go down the street if you’re running late. 

You can use:

It’s important to note that costs can vary, helmets are required and you aren’t allowed to ride scooters on the sidewalk.

The bottom line 

As you can see, there are numerous Seattle transportation options to choose from. So depending on the day, your mood, energy, and the weather (hello, Seattle rain!) you can choose Seattle public transportation options or decide to drive yourself or get an Uber. 

If you live in Seattle and have a car but don’t drive that often, check out pay-per-mile car insurance with Metromile. Just like you pay for utilities based on how much you use, you can pay for car insurance based on the miles you drive along with a low base rate. Get your no-hassle quote to see how much you could save. 


Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

What is a Mileage Tax and the Vehicle Mileage Tax Program, Explained

On June 24, 2021, President Biden announced a $1.2 trillion dollar “Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework” as part of his “Build Back Better vision” notes a White House press release on the matter.  As of September 30, 2021, the vote on the Infrastructure Bill was delayed. Part of the package includes proposing a vehicle mileage tax pilot program. Read on to learn what you need to know about vehicle mileage tax.

Everything You Need to Know About Vehicle Mileage Tax | Metromile

What is a mileage tax?

Mileage tax is a type of tax that is paid by the driver based on miles driven. You can think of it as a pay-per-mile tax that subsidizes government programs and can be thought of as a “road user charge”. The vehicle mileage tax is typically based on how many miles you drive in a particular time frame, like a year or quarter. 

What is the vehicle mileage tax program? 

Currently, there is talk on social media about the vehicle mileage tax program. Users are expressing concerns about the cost of driving and incorrectly stating that it would cost drivers 8 cents a mile, per a USA Today story. 

In reality, the vehicle mileage tax program that is included in the infrastructure bill proposes a three-year pilot program to study the viability of a road user charge. The program would begin in 2022 and after the three-year period is up, it may be voted into law by Congress. 

How does the pay-per-mile vehicle mileage tax program work? 

According to the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act” document:

“The Secretary shall establish a program to test the feasibility of a road usage fee and other user-based alternative revenue mechanisms (referred to in this section as “user-based 

alternative revenue mechanisms”) to help maintain the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund, through pilot projects at the State, local, and regional level.”

The program is designed to test out alternative revenue streams that are user-based, conduct outreach as well as education about these programs, assess their acceptance in the community as well as address privacy concerns about getting tracked by the mile, and more. 

There are national as well as state programs that will try out the per-mile user fees. Given that it’s a pilot program and not established into law, it requires passenger and commercial drivers’ participation. 

Volunteers from all 50 states will be solicited to participate in this program. Various telematics devices will be used such as on-board diagnostic devices, smartphone apps, and more. 

These devices will track the miles driven within a specific time period. Volunteers as part of the vehicle mileage tax pilot program will pay per-mile taxes based on the amount of miles driven, within a particular quarter of the calendar year. 

Is the per-mile mileage tax replacing the gas tax?

You might wonder if the per-mile vehicle mileage tax will replace the gas tax also known as the Motor Fuel Tax (MFT). Unfortunately, it’s not clear. 

For some background, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) website notes that since the early 2000s many states have been trying to come up with solutions to replace MFT. 

Based on data from the National Association of State Budget Officers’ 2019 State Expenditure Report, motor fuel taxes are the largest transportation source of revenue coming in at 39.8%.

Seeing as many states are making moves to reduce emissions and make vehicles less reliant on fuel with the boom of electric cars, there are ideas floating around about how to navigate this going forward, which is one reason the per-mile tax or road user charge is coming into conversation. These can also be referred to as “Vehicle Miles Traveled” (VMT) or “Mileage-Based User Fees” (MBUF). 

There are already some states that are trying out regional pilot programs but the infrastructure bill is bringing it to a national and statewide level. 

Which states are included in the vehicle mileage tax pilot program? 

The National Motor Vehicle Per-Mile User Fee Pilot Program is not in effect as of yet, but if it moves forward it intends to attract volunteers from all 50 states. It will include passenger and commercial vehicle drivers as well. 

Although the program intends to attract drivers from various geographic locations and all 50 states, it is a pilot program where you must volunteer and opt into. 

According to a Washington Post article on vehicle mileage tax, Oregon and Utah are already launching per-mile programs. A more recent posting on the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) website notes that there are 14 state and regional pilots that have received federal grants to implement these programs.

Expect more states to get on board with road user charges (RUC). An earlier blog from NCSL stated:

“State legislatures continue to debate RUC legislation. In 2019 and 2020, at least 19 states—Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington—considered 34 pieces of legislation addressing RUC. Of those, at least seven states—Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Virginia and Washington—have enacted eight pieces of legislation. Five states—Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York and Vermont—currently have seven pending pieces of legislation, including carryover bills from 2019.”

The bottom line 

The new vehicle mileage tax pilot program is in the infrastructure bill and could be in place in 2022 as part of the pilot program lasting three years. It won’t necessarily affect you until then unless you opt into the pilot program. However, it’s something to monitor and be aware of as many states are looking for alternatives to Motor Fuel Tax. 

If you want to save money based on how much (or how little) you drive, consider pay-per-mile auto insurance that offers you a car insurance premium based on an affordable base rate plus the miles you actually drive. Get a free quote today. 



Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

How to get around in San Francisco?

Whether you currently live in San Francisco, want to live in San Francisco, or plan on traveling to the city by the bay, there are so many ways to get around the city. In fact, the city was named the second-best city for public transportation based on Metromile data, only behind the Big Apple. From the city’s iconic cable cars to the recent bike share trends, there are more options than ever when it comes to getting around in San Francisco. Read on to learn more about San Francisco’s transportation options.

Your Guide to Getting Around San Francisco | Metromile

Common forms of San Francisco public transportation 

If you need help getting around in San Francisco, you have numerous modes of transport to choose from that fit your budget and lifestyle. Let’s go over the main San Francisco transport options. 

1. Muni 

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is the entity that manages the Muni transportation system, which is short for Municipal Railway. 

Muni operates several different public transportation options in San Francisco including:

  • Light rail Metro trains
  • Muni buses (bonus: they’re fuel-efficient)

The entity also manages historic cable cars (more on that later). Through Muni, more than a million people use the public transportation service as part of getting around San Francisco, according to the SFMTA website. 

Muni also connects with other regional forms of transportation including:

  • AC Transit 
  • BART
  • Caltrain
  • Golden Gate Transit
  • SamTrans
  • The San Francisco Bay ferry 

A single Muni ride costs $2.50 per ride and you can see your route options here. 

2. Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) 

One of the top San Francisco public transportation options is the Bay Area Rapid Transit, more commonly referred to by its acronym, BART. 

The underground (and sometimes underwater!) rail is an engineering marvel, connecting San Francisco with both the East Bay and South Bay. 

BART has been around for over 45 years, serving as one of the main ways residents of SF and tourists get around. It’s also a great way to get to and from the San Francisco International Airport (SFO). 

The fare for BART is based on the distance you travel, so can vary depending on where you’re going. 

You can use the BART fare calculator and also the BART transportation map to see where it goes and plan your next trip. 

3. Historic cable cars 

One of the most unique and iconic things about San Francisco is its use of cable cars. Cable cars act as another character in the soul of the city and are a must for any tourist visiting the Bay. As a resident, it’s a different way to get around the city and reminds you of the magic in the city. 

The historic cable cars are also run by Muni and cost a flat $8 as of September 2021. According to the SFMTA website, there are the cable car routes to choose from:

Cable cars are a quintessential San Francisco experience, having been invented in the city close to 150 years ago and are one of the more delightful ways to get around San Francisco. 

4. Driving 

Aside from the abundance of public transportation options, it’s possible to drive around the city to get where you need to go as well. Though the city is known for its hills, which can make driving stick a bit tricky, it’s also known for its beautiful geography and historic sites which can make driving a fun way to see the local surroundings. 

On top of that, safety is a priority. The city of San Francisco is working toward safety for all people traveling the San Francisco streets with their Vision Zero SF program, which works toward ending traffic-related deaths. 

The good news is that the city is relatively small and there are many San Francisco public transportation options, which means you may not need to drive as much as you think. 

Residents can benefit from opting for pay-per-mile insurance with Metromile, where you pay a small base rate and pay several cents for every mile you drive up to 250 miles per day. You’re used to paying gas by the gallon, why not pay insurance by the mile? Metromile offers affordable auto insurance coverage for low-mileage drivers. 

5. Biking 

You don’t have to use four wheels to get around SF, but you can opt for two wheels instead and use a bike. Though San Francisco is well-known as a walkable and public transportation-friendly city, it’s also one of the most bikeable cities in the U.S. as well. 

As of 2019, there were 9 miles of additional bikeways added, 670 bike racks were installed and approximately 52,000 cyclists were accounted for during peak periods, according to SFMTA bike data. If your preferred San Francisco transport is a bike, be sure to helmet up! 

6. Walking 

Who needs wheels when you can use the power of your own two feet? San Francisco city streets were designed for maximum walkability. It’s easy to walk around parts of the city like downtown, Fisherman’s Wharf, and more. Walking can let you see more of the city at your own pace and explore new avenues of discovery. 

The city of SF is also committed to creating safer streets for pedestrians and making it easier and better to walk where you need to go. 

Emerging  San Francisco transport options 

Aside from the six most common San Francisco transportation options listed above, there have been new modes of transport that have hit the market in recent years that you can utilize as well. 

Privately-owned commuter shuttles 

San Francisco is a tech hub and privately-owned commuter shuttles have become a thing. These types of shuttles bring employees to work from specific neighborhoods. One of the most popular is the “Google bus” which transports employees from San Francisco to Mountain View. There are over 125 shuttle stops, according to SFMTA data. 

Ride-share options like Uber and Lyft 

When it comes to getting around in San Francisco, there are also ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft. Using Uber and Lyft, you can book a car and driver to take you where you need to go with a mobile app. 

Using the bike share program 

If you don’t have your own bike but still want to get around San Francisco by bike, you’re in luck. The city has a bike share network where you can affordably rent a bike for a short trip. It’s a way to get around the city by bike and can be good if traffic is high and you want to get somewhere fast. 

Electric moped

San Francisco also has electric mopeds or e-mopeds that are shared similar to the bike share program. Using a mobile app, you can book a shared moped to get around town. On top of adding one more way to travel around San Francisco, e-mopeds also create no emissions at all so it’s a good choice for the environment. 

The bottom line 

As you can see, the San Francisco transport options are abundant. Whether you want to choose San Francisco public transportation, your own two feet, or opt for a rideshare program, bike share, or moped share, the city has got you covered. If you live in San Francisco and utilize these options, you may be considered a low-mileage driver. Using traditional car insurance, you may be paying more than you need to. Why pay more when you can pay just for the miles you drive plus a low base rate? It’s time to re-think your auto insurance and get a smarter, more affordable option with pay-per-mile insurance. Check out your Metromile quote today. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

2021 Top 10 Cities with Worst Traffic in the U.S.

Driving can give you a sense of freedom while on the open road. You feel your hands on the wheel, feet on the pedal, and can go full speed ahead wherever you want. There’s one surefire way to kill that vibe and that is dealing with traffic. If you’ve ever found yourself stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, you know how frustrating and annoying it can be. If you want to avoid traffic or are just curious how your city ranks, we’ve outlined the top 10 cities with the worst traffic.

Top 10 Cities with Worst Traffic in the U.S. | Metromile

Our methodology 

To rank the cities with worst traffic, we looked at the 2021 Urban Mobility Report and looked at two primary metrics. We looked at the average delays commuters faced due to traffic as well as excess fuel consumption due to congestion. It should be noted that these numbers are based on 2020 data and there were notable changes from 2019, likely due to the pandemic. 

In the report, the metrics are described as: 

“Yearly Delay per Auto CommuterExtra travel time during the year divided by the number of people who commute in private vehicles in the urban area” (info on pg 32). 

“Excess Fuel per Auto Commuter—Extra fuel consumed during the year divided by the number of people who commute in private vehicles in the urban area” (info on pg 44). 

Based on this data we created the list of cities with worst traffic in the U.S. below. 

10. Seattle, WA 

The Emerald City, also known as Seattle, is well-known for its stunning geography and its signature Space Needle. It’s also highly ranked for public transportation. Even though it’s a walkable city with robust transportation options, it’s ranked number 10 on the list of worst traffic in the U.S. 

Though some people have moved out of Seattle during the pandemic, its population growth has been steady over the past few years. According to Washington State Wire, in 2020 “Seattle’s population increased by 13,800 people to 761,100.”

More people mean more people on the road. According to the 2021 Urban Mobility Report, in Seattle, the Yearly Delay per Auto Commuter was 31 hours. Dealing with more traffic led to increased gas consumption as well, with Seattleites using 13 gallons as part of Excess Fuel per Auto Commuter.

Yearly Delay per Auto Commuter = 31 hours 

 Excess Fuel per Auto Commuter = 13 gallons 

9. Detroit, MI 

Detroit’s nickname is pretty apt considering it made it to the list of worst traffic cities in the U.S. Often referred to as the “Motor City”, Detroit used to be the hub for the automotive industry with Henry Ford transforming the area. 

Detroit ranked ninth on the list of cities with worst traffic, causing commuters to experience yearly delays of 35 hours. When it comes to excess fuel, drivers in Detroit used 13 gallons in excess fuel. 

Yearly Delay per Auto Commuter = 35 hours  

Excess Fuel per Auto Commuter = 13 gallons 

8. Atlanta, GA and Philadelphia, PA (tied) 

Atlanta, Georgia is known for its music scene and Philadelphia as the city of brotherly love and its art scene. Both cities serve as cultural hubs and are tied when it comes to the cities with worst traffic. 

Both Atlanta and Philadelphia commuters faced annual delays of 37 hours. The cities were also tied when it comes to excess fuel consumption due to congestion, which amounted to 15 gallons. 

Yearly Delay per Auto Commuter = 37 hours 

Excess Fuel per Auto Commuter = 15 gallons 

7. Chicago, IL 

Chicago is known for its brutal winters, sports teams, and pizza. On top of that, it holds the title for the most populous city in the Midwest. Even though Chicago has a well-connected public transportation system, it still has lots of traffic as well. 

Commuters in Chicago had an annual delay of 39 hours. On top of that, the extra delays and congestion led to excess fuel consumption of 16 gallons. 

Yearly Delay per Auto Commuter = 39 hours 

Excess Fuel per Auto Commuter = 16 gallons 

6. Dallas, TX 

Dallas is known for its BBQ, football and is the 9th largest city in the U.S. It also was home to the first convenience store, 7-11, which you probably know of today. Convenience stores are helpful for drivers on the road who want to grab-and-go with a snack or a beverage in hand. Which could come in handy as you might be sitting in your car for a minute because Dallas is ranked sixth on the list of cities with worst traffic in the U.S. 

Commuters experienced an annual delay of 40 hours due to congestion. On top of that, Dallas drivers had 16 gallons of excess fuel consumption due to traffic as well. 

Yearly Delay per Auto Commuter = 40 hours 

Excess Fuel per Auto Commuter = 16 gallons 

5. Washington, D.C. 

Our nation’s capital is home to many popular tourist attractions, historical sites, and of course, the President. While the city has many public transportation options, the city also has a lot of commuters who live in the nearby DMV area (D.C., Maryland, Virginia). 

Unfortunately, D.C has half a million commuters and has some of the longest commute times in the country, according to NPR. D.C. drivers experienced an annual delay of 42 hours. Those delays led to 16 gallons of excess fuel consumption. 

Yearly Delay per Auto Commuter = 42 hours 

Excess Fuel per Auto Commuter = 16 gallons 

4. Los Angeles, CA and San Francisco, CA (tied) 

The Golden State is home to two offenders on the worst traffic cities in the U.S. list. Los Angeles and San Francisco are tied in the fourth spot. 

LA is well-known for its beaches, entertainment and music industries, and traffic (no surprise!). San Francisco is a tech town and home to the Golden Gate bridge but like D.C. also has a ton of commuters from nearby Bay Area cities. 

LA and SF drivers had annual delays of 46 hours due to congestion. The cities differ when it comes to excess fuel consumption with Los Angeles commuters using 14 gallons in excess fuel consumption and San Francisco commuters using 17 gallons. 

Yearly Delay per Auto Commuter = 46 hours 

LA Excess Fuel per Auto Commuter = 14 gallons 

SF Excess Fuel per Auto Commuter = 17 gallons 

3. Houston, TX 

Houston is home to Beyoncé and NASA and is one of the most diverse places in the U.S. On top of that, the city is the fourth most populous city in the U.S. Considering the large population, it’s no wonder Houston is ranked third on the list for cities with worst traffic. 

Houston drivers experienced annual delays of 49 hours. All of that traffic plus delays led to excess fuel consumption of 21 gallons. 

Yearly Delay per Auto Commuter = 49 hours 

Excess Fuel per Auto Commuter = 21 gallons 

2. Boston, MA 

Boston is one of the oldest cities in the nation, being founded in 1630 by Puritans fleeing religious persecution. Nowadays, Boston is known for Fenway park, higher ed institutions like Harvard, and the Museum of Fine Arts. While Boston has many options for public transportation, it’s also home to lots of traffic as well. That’s why it comes in the 2nd spot on the list for worst traffic cities in the U.S. 

Commuters had annual delays that totaled 50 hours — or more than a full workweek. The extra congestion on the road led to excess fuel consumption of 20 gallons. 

Yearly Delay per Auto Commuter = 50 hours 

Excess Fuel per Auto Commuter = 20 gallons 

1. New York, NY 

The Big Apple is well-known for its subway system, museums, Broadway and so much more and is the most populous city in the U.S. The city was recently ranked as the top spot for public transportation by Metromile. Unfortunately, as of 2020, it’s also the top spot for congestion as well. It should be noted that rankings have shifted from 2019 to 2020, likely due to the pandemic as Los Angeles used to hold the top spot in 2019. 

Drivers experienced annual delays of 56 hours as of 2020. It also takes the top spot for excess fuel consumption due to traffic, using up 23 gallons. 

Yearly Delay per Auto Commuter = 56 hours 

Excess Fuel per Auto Commuter = 23 gallons 

The bottom line 

The pandemic has shifted driving behavior as well as reduced the amount of commuters on the road, but traffic is still a big issue in many major cities. Whether your city made it on the list of cities with worst traffic or not, you want to make sure you’re getting the most affordable car insurance coverage out there. You could only pay for the miles you drive plus a low base rate with pay-per-mile car insurance. Check out your free quote to see about potential savings. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

How to Sell a Car in Washington State in 5 Simple Steps

If you live in the Evergreen State, you may consider going car-less especially if you live in Seattle, opting for public transportation instead. Perhaps you’re ready to upgrade your current car to an electric car or a hybrid, that’s more environmentally friendly. Whatever your reason, you want to sell your car on the private market instead of dealing with trade-ins and dealerships. Read on to learn how to sell a car in Washington state in five easy steps. 

How to Sell a Car in Washington State | Metromile

Selling a car in Washington in 5 steps

If you’re interested in selling a car in Washington, follow these five steps to get started. Preparing ahead of time can help you with the process and avoid any headaches. Plus, it’ll make sure you take the necessary steps to transfer the ownership of the vehicle to the new buyer while releasing your liability since it’s not your car anymore. 

Step 1: Clean your car and take great photos 

You know how realtors stage houses to make them look nice and inviting for prospective homebuyers? You have to do something similar when selling a car. The first step is to clean out your car. 

That means getting rid of trash like any snack wrappers, old coffee cups, and crumbs on the floor from your favorite drive-through spot. Go to the car wash, throw out trash, and vacuum the mats and seats. Wipe down the dashboard, put on an air freshener, and take some great photos that clearly show the inside and outside of the vehicle. 

Step 2: Post your car listing 

After cleaning out your car and taking great photos, it’s time to advertise that your car is on the market. Post your car listing on sites like:

  • Craigslist
  • OfferUp
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • AutoTrader

Set a price that you’re willing to negotiate and include as many details as possible including make, model, and mileage. Include photos that are appealing and have good lighting and show the details of the car. Include all of the info, press publish and wait for responses. 

Step 3: Talk to potential buyers and get an inspection if needed 

When you sell anything online, you’re bound to get lots of casual buyers who are “just looking” and may not be serious about buying your car. Serious buyers typically want to get an inspection from a mechanic before finalizing the sale. 

If someone asks for an inspection, coordinate with them to make it happen. Prospective buyers pay for this part but you still have to manage the logistics. 

Step 4: Complete the required paperwork 

When selling a car in Washington, as is the case in other states, you need to fill out the required paperwork to make the transaction official. You’ll need to include the title and list out the mileage from your odometer. Both you and the buyer need to sign using your full, legal names and date it as well. 

If you’ve lost your vehicle title, you need to apply for a replacement title with the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) and pay $35.50. It takes about 8-10 weeks. Need it even faster? You can expedite it by paying $85.50. Think of it as a $50 convenience fee. 

On top of that, you’ll also need the Vehicle Bill of Sale

Keep copies of all records and remove the license plates. Collect payment and hand over the keys, and boom —  you’ve sold your car! 

Step 5: File of Report of Sale in WA 

You’ll also need to submit a Vehicle Report of Sale (WA) to let the state of Washington know that you’ve sold the car and that you’re not liable for the car anymore. The Vehicle Report of Sale (WA) must be submitted within 5 days of selling the car. You’ll need to include make, model, date sold, sale price, as well as buyer and seller information. 

To make it easier, you can submit the Vehicle Report of Sale (WA) online. You must pay a $13.25 fee when filing the report. 

The bottom line 

If you’re curious about how to sell a car in Washington state, take these five steps to get started and make sure you fill out the necessary paperwork. Selling a car in Washington is fairly straightforward but you want to make sure all steps are taken care of so you get your money and no longer have any liability related to the vehicle. 

After selling a car in Washington, you might buy a new car which is a great time to look into new car insurance options to make sure you’re getting the most competitive rate. If you’re a low-mileage driver, pay-per-mile car insurance could be a unique option you didn’t even know existed. You pay a low base rate and a few cents for each mile you drive. Get a free quote from Metromile today. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

What Are the Carb States and What Does Carb Compliant Mean?

Imagine that you’re living in Los Angeles in the 1940s. You leave your home to go to the market, but you can barely see your surrounding environment due to an influx of smog. You can only see three blocks ahead of you. You feel the piercing, burning pain in your eyes and feel unwell taking in whatever is in the air. You wonder if there is a chemical attack or something else, but whatever it is, it’s not pleasant and affecting your environment (literally). 

While this may sound like some sort of fiction, this actually happened in 1943 in Los Angeles. After thinking it was a nearby plant causing the problem, it was later realized that smog from cars was the primary culprit. That incident caused a domino effect in Los Angeles with the city creating the Los Angeles County Air Pollution Control District and by 1967 establishing the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Now, California has some of the strictest requirements when it comes to smog and emissions, thanks to CARB. As a driver, you may come across this term and wonder what is CARB and what does CARB compliant mean? We’ve broken it down for you in this brief guide. 

What CARB and CARB Compliant Actually Means | Metromile

What does CARB refer to? 

If you’ve seen the acronym CARB related to cars, you probably understand it’s not related to carbs like pasta or bread. CARB refers to the California Air Resources Board and is the state of California’s agency that was created to help combat air pollution in 1967. 

What’s important to note is that California has been a leader in combatting the effects of air pollution and is a trailblazer in the field. The federal Clean Air Act noticed California’s efforts and aimed to reduce air pollution on a national level — while giving California the ability to set its own unique and even stricter standards for emission regulations. 

Since its inception, CARB has done many notable things to reduce emissions including:

  • Setting the nation’s first tailpipe emission standards
  • Creating nationwide standards related to vehicle greenhouse gas emissions
  • Regulations related to manufacturers creating more zero-emission vehicles (ZEV)
  • Eliminating lead in gasoline 
  • Creating new standards for clean-burning fuel 

On top of that, CARB was given the responsibility of monitoring and reducing greenhouse gas emissions that affect climate change in the 2000s. As you can see, the agency has done a lot to help the state of California and is a leader on the national stage when it comes to setting standards related to air pollution. 

What is CARB compliant?

The state agency CARB recently made changes where certain vehicles must be deemed ‘CARB compliant’. But what is carb compliant, exactly?

As of 2020, the Department of Motor Vehicles, in collaboration with CARB, began verifying compliance with certain vehicles to ensure certain standards were met. It is specifically related to a Truck and Bus Regulation to get emissions up-to-date to current standards. 

This is geared toward diesel trucks and buses, so not necessarily the everyday passenger car. To become CARB compliant, drivers must replace their 2010 or older trucks or buses or use an acceptable alternative while reporting as part of the Truck Regulation Upload, Compliance and Reporting System (TRUCRS).

If you need to become CARB compliant and don’t, the DMV may place a hold on your registration. Additionally, if you need assistance to make that happen there are CARB compliant funding programs that can help you out listed here. 

CARB compliant can also refer to other things that are not motor vehicles such as generators, lawnmowers, leaf blowers, and other types of power equipment. CARB has specific regulations for those items to help reduce pollution. 

Which states are considered CARB states? 

While CARB refers to the California Air Resources Board, other states have joined forces to adopt similar emission standards in their own states. As noted above, California has the ability to set stricter standards and other states are following suit with their own clean air programs. 

Currently, there are 14 other CARB states plus the District of Columbia that have adopted California’s emission standards. The CARB states (aside from California) include:

  1. Colorado
  2. Connecticut
  3. Delaware
  4. Maine
  5. Maryland
  6. Massachusetts
  7. New Jersey
  8. New York 
  9. Oregon
  10. Pennsylvania
  11. Rhode Island
  12. Vermont
  13. Virginia 
  14. Washington 
  15. Washington D.C. 

There are other states such as Minnesota, New Mexico, as well as Nevada that are working toward passing legislation to become CARB states. 

CARB vs: EPA

CARB refers to the California Air Resources Board whereas the EPA refers to the Environmental Protection Agency. Both entities work toward reducing air pollution and emissions but have some differences. 

CARB is the state agency in California and the EPA is the federal agency overseeing things nationwide. As noted previously, CARB can have even tougher requirements than the EPA though. California and other CARB states must abide by CARB compliance, whereas other states would have to defer to the emission standards set by the EPA. 

The bottom line 

If you see the term CARB or have a requirement to become CARB compliant, now you have an idea of what it all means. The state agency has paved the way for other CARB states to reduce air pollution and emissions and create a world that is healthier and safer for you and the environment. 

If you’re a low-mileage driver, see how you can reduce emissions and save money with pay-per-mile auto insurance through Metromile. Grab a free quote to see how much you could save. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

Average miles driven per year by Americans

Have you ever wondered how many miles the average person drives per year? Or how your driving habits compare to others in your state, age group, or gender?

Every year, the US. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration releases a report analyzing motor vehicle registrations, number of driver licenses, average car mileage, and more. We combed through the latest report and found that:

  • There are now almost 229 million Americans who have licenses, and they collectively drove over 3.2 trillion miles in 2019. That’s enough to drive around the Earth over 128 million times! 
  • The overall number of miles driven by Americans has increased every year since 2011 and is more than double the total miles driven in 1980. This makes sense, as there are more licensed drivers and registered vehicles than ever before.
  • The average driver drives around 13,500 miles per year. That’s over 1,000 miles per month!
  • Americans drive more than twice as many miles in urban areas than in rural areas.
  • Men tend to drive more than women across all age groups, averaging around 6,000 more miles per year.
  • Younger and older individuals (16-19 year olds and 65+) tend to drive about half as many miles as typical working-age individuals.
Average miles driven per year by Americans | Metromile

Average miles driven per year by state

The states with the highest total miles driven per year are easy to guess, as the top 5 (California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and New York) all fall in the top 8 largest states by population.

What’s more interesting is looking at how many miles the average person drives per year in each state, which we found by dividing the total miles driven by the number of driver’s license holders in each state:

StateAverage car mileage per driver
Alabama17,817
Alaska11,111
Arizona13,090
Arkansas17,224
California12,524
Colorado12,899
Connecticut12,117
Delaware12,609
District of Columbia7,013
Florida14,557
Georgia18,334
Hawaii11,688
Idaho14,417
Illinois12,581
Indiana18,024
Iowa14,745
Kansas14,781
Kentucky16,305
Louisiana14,951
Maine14,215
Maryland13,490
Massachusetts13,109
Michigan14,307
Minnesota17,909
Mississippi19,966
Missouri18,521
Montana15,880
Nebraska14,846
Nevada14,016
New Hampshire11,570
New Jersey12,263
New Mexico19,157
New York10,167
North Carolina16,073
North Dakota17,671
Ohio14,278
Oklahoma17,699
Oregon12,218
Pennsylvania11,445
Rhode Island9,961
South Carolina14,941
South Dakota15,541
Tennessee15,287
Texas16,172
Utah15,516
Vermont13,004
Virginia14,509
Washington10,949
West Virginia16,876
Wisconsin15,442
Wyoming24,069

As you can see, the averages vary a lot, with drivers in the District of Columbia only averaging a little over 7,000 miles per year and those in Wyoming driving almost 3.5 times more at just over 24,000 miles. Below, we’ll dig into some of the potential reasons for this huge difference.

States where people drive the most

When we look at the average miles driven per year, the following states takeing the top spots:

  1. Wyoming
  2. Mississippi
  3. New Mexico
  4. Missouri
  5. Georgia
  6. Indiana
  7. Minnesota
  8. Alabama
  9. Oklahoma
  10. North Dakota 

Unlike the states with the highest total miles, which are largely driven by population, these states likely boast the highest average miles because they tend to be more rural and have fewer alternate means of transportation. In fact, Wyoming — the state where people drive the most — is 99.8% rural, with a rural population density of just two people per square mile.

States where people drive the least

On the other end of the spectrum, the states who drive the fewest miles on average are:

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Rhode Island
  3. New York
  4. Washington
  5. Alaska
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. New Hampshire
  8. Hawaii
  9. Connecticut
  10. Oregon

Unsurprisingly, five of these states are home to cities with the best public transportation — Oregon (Portland), Washington (Seattle), Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.), and New York (New York City). Gas prices might also play a role, as seven of these states fall into the top 20 states with the highest gas prices. Interestingly, while Alaska is by far the largest state in terms of square miles, its drivers boast the fifth-lowest average car mileage in the country.

Average car mileage per year by age group

The Federal Highway Administration also broke down the average annual miles per driver by age group and found that:

  • 16-19 year olds on average drive the fewest miles each year out of all the age groups, with those 65+ following close behind.
  • The age groups that best encompass typical working ages (20-34 and 35-54) tend to drive the most. In fact, these groups drive around twice as many miles as high schoolers and senior citizens.

These statistics shouldn’t be surprising, as the average American drives 16 miles to work each way — which comes out to around 8,384 miles each year just for their commute. Since most 16-19 year olds are still in school and Americans tend to retire when they’re around 64, the oldest and youngest age groups often drive much less than typical working-age individuals.

Bottom line

While it can be fun to see how you compare to other drivers in your state, age group, and gender, did you know many car insurance companies use these factors to determine how much you’ll pay

At Metromile, we think your rate should be based on your actual driving habits — which feels fairer and can actually save you money. In fact, by switching to pay per mile insurance, our customers save 47%* on average compared to what they were paying their previous auto insurer. Get a quote to see how much you could save today.

* Average annual car insurance savings by new customers surveyed who saved with Metromile in 2018.

Different Types of Telematics Devices

What if you could lower your car insurance rate by using a device that monitors your driving behavior? Given the latest technology with telematics devices, you can. Telematics devices help monitor your position, speed, braking behavior, and so much more. Usage-based insurance companies like Metromile use telematics devices in some states to gather accurate data to ensure you get the best rate possible. 

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website, “The use of telematics helps insurers more accurately estimate accident damages and reduce fraud by enabling them to analyze the driving data (such as hard braking, speed, and time) during an accident.” There are various types of telematics devices that blend the use of technology and innovation to create real-world data that benefits users. Here are five telematics devices you should know about.

5 Different Telematics Devices to Be Aware Of | Metromile

1. Black box telematics device

One of the original telematics devices available is often referred to as a black box. This black box connects with your OBD-II or CAN-BUS port. The way it works is that in the black box there is a SIM card as well as a modem that all work together to communicate important info over a cellular network about your driving behavior. Black box telematics devices will have GPS, a port, SIM card, interface for the engine as well as an accelerometer. You’re able to mount your black box in your car and transmit data in an easy and effective way. 

Having a black box may be able to help recover your vehicle faster in case of theft and can provide accurate tracking options for mileage-based insurance

2. Smartphone-based telematics device 

Nearly everyone these days has a smartphone, which makes data tracking easier than ever. Instead of a black box, you could use a smartphone-based telematics device that doesn’t require any installation upfront. 

Using telematics devices that are mobile-first makes it easy on the driver and sends accurate data to the insurer to create rates based on the way you drive. 

3. Bluetooth-powered telematics device

Aside from a black box or smartphone-based app, telematics devices can also include self-powered data transfer through Bluetooth. These types of devices can be mounted in your car on the dashboard and use Bluetooth to collect and submit information about your driving behavior to your insurer. At times you may have connectivity issues with Bluetooth — but in general, these devices send relevant information to servers which can then be used for usage-based insurance programs. 

4. OBD-II Port telematics device 

Another type of telematics device is one that connects to the On-Board Diagnostics II port, which is often referred to as OBD-II for short. This port makes it possible to connect to the car’s computer to help transmit important data about your driving. 

Since 1996, the OBD-II port has been a requirement for all vehicles manufactured in the U.S. Telematics devices that work with the OBD-II port are effective at transmitting your data through cellular networks as part of usage-based insurance. It’s also an easy way to get started and has a low barrier with technology as you simply use the port. You can typically find the OBD-II port under the steering wheel near the dashboard. 

Metromile utilizes OBD-II technology to track speed and motion and relays that information through cellular data.

5. OEM telematics device 

Out of all the telematics devices there is one that is less common but is becoming more popular. It’s built into your car and is referred to as OEM, which stands for original equipment manufacturers. This telematics device uses OEM embedded hardware to transmit driver data. 

Because it uses built-in car sensors, it eliminates the need for any installation. However, telematics devices like this have a lack of regularity and standards making them less popular. 

As technology continues to improve, this type of telematics device which works with built-in materials will be able to help drivers get the most up-to-date data and monitor driving behavior. While it can offer precise data, it also comes at a cost to the manufacturer of the car making some of the other telematics devices more popular. 

The bottom line 

Telematics devices have changed the game for usage-based insurance. Using the power of technology, it’s possible to share relevant driving data to help you get better and more accurate rates if you’re a safe driver. Instead of relying on outdated models for insurance premiums, it’s possible to assess risk and your behavior using telematics devices. As you can see, they come in different forms, each with its pros and cons as it relates to accuracy, installation, and accessibility. 

If you want to experience the power of telematics devices yourself, you can try the Ride Along program with Metromile and snag a free quote to check out your potential savings. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

Electric Cars Pros and Cons

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, you may have your eye on an electric vehicle (EV). Maybe you want to reduce your environmental impact or simply save money on gas — or you just like the look of the new Tesla and you’re sold. But then you hear that nagging voice, “Are electric cars worth it?” Before deciding on going fully electric or not, you want to understand the benefits of electric cars. Read on to review electric cars pros and cons to help make your decision easier.

Benefits of electric cars

f you’re wondering are electric cars worth it, it’s key to understand all the benefits of electric cars. Owning an electric vehicle has its perks, so let’s review.

You can save a lot of money

Have you ever lamented about how high the cost of gas is while at the pump? Imagine those days are gone. Instead of filling up your gas tank each week and feeling like it’s taking a good chunk of your discretionary income, you could save a lot of money by going electric. When you have an electric car, you no longer need any gas to fuel your car. 

Instead, you need electricity which is much more affordable. According to Energy.gov, you could reduce costs by 50% by going electric when compared to gas. You can even use their nifty eGallon tool to compare the costs of driving with gas versus electricity. For example, in California, it shows that the cost of gasoline is $3.73 per gallon compared to $1.86 for electricity. 

Being able to cut your costs in half is remarkable for your budget and can reduce your overall spending, freeing up money to put elsewhere — like savings, debt, or even a fun hobby.

Electricity is renewable

The thing about gas is that it’s a finite resource as it uses oil to create gas. Oil is a natural resource. Given everything going on with climate change, it’s important to take a harder look at natural resources and the way they’re being used. 

That’s why electric vehicles are an attractive alternative. Unlike gas which can technically run out, electricity can be renewable. It’s possible to get electricity in renewable ways such as through wind or water powers or even solar energy. 

Renewable energy is on the rise as the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) noted that usage reached record highs as of 2020, making it 12% of energy consumption. According to the EIA website, “The electric power sector accounted for about 60% of total U.S. renewable energy consumption in 2020, and about 20% of total U.S. electricity generation was from renewable energy sources.”

You can lower greenhouse gas emissions

One of the major benefits of electric cars is the fact that you can reduce your environmental impact. Regular vehicles that use gas greatly contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as of 2019 transportation makes up 29% of greenhouse gas emissions, effectively the largest contributor next to electricity (25%), industry (23%), commercial and residential (13%), and agriculture (10%). 

Electric cars don’t have an exhaust pipe to create greenhouse gas emissions. That’s not to say there is no environmental impact. 

If you use coal or natural gas to power electricity, it can leave carbon pollution. If you use one of the more natural ways listed above, you don’t contribute to carbon pollution. 

The EPA does state on their website, “Even accounting for these electricity emissions, research shows that an EV is typically responsible for lower levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) than an average new gasoline car. To the extent that more renewable energy sources like wind and solar are used to generate electricity, the total GHGs associated with EVs could be even lower.”
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the national averages for annual emissions per vehicle is 11,435 pounds of CO2 equivalent for a gasoline vehicle whereas for all-electric vehicles it is 3,774 pounds of CO2 equivalent which represents 3x less CO2 than gasoline vehicles.

You can take advantage of tax credits

Another major perk of owning an electric car is the tax credits you could qualify for. According to the U.S. Department of Energy website, you could get up to $7,500 in tax credits. Your car must be all-electric or plug-in hybrid and made in 2010 or later to qualify. 

Tax credits are more effective than deductions at lowering the amount you pay in taxes as they’re dollar-for-dollar. Meaning, if you owed $10,000 you could effectively lower your tax bill up to a maximum of $7,500 and only pay $2,500. 

It’s important to note that the tax credit is only available up to the limit. So if your tax bill is only $2,000, you can receive the credit for up to $2,000 and the rest won’t help your tax situation any further. Deductions lower your taxable income which can lower how much you pay in taxes but is not dollar-for-dollar.

Less maintenance is required

When you have a regular car, you need to fill up the gas tank regularly and also change your oil at regular intervals. All of that can add to the cost and time it requires to maintain the car. When it comes to considering electric cars pros and cons, this is a huge benefit. On top of that, there may be fewer repairs needed as well.

Better performance

Electric cars tend to be much quieter than gas vehicles. That noise reduction can improve performance and quality of life and lead to a smooth ride on the road. Electric vehicles tend to be more energy efficient in stop-and-go traffic as well and electric motors actually react faster than mechanical engines. All of these factors combined make for a better performance and experience as both a driver and passenger.

Downsides of electric cars

Now that you know the benefits of electric cars, it’s time to consider the cons as well. Here are the most common downsides of electric cars.

Electric cars can be pricey

Though you can benefit from the cost savings on gas, there’s no doubt that electric cars are more expensive than standard cars to buy. In some cases, thousands of dollars more. 

But Business Insider recently discovered that there is a new group of EVs priced at $35,000. Additionally, Axios noted that electric vehicles are more expensive to buy but not to own. Due to lower maintenance costs it may all even out. But just be aware that you could pay a higher sticker price.

Charging can be a lengthy process

When you have an electric vehicle, you can’t just go to the pump and get on your way. You do have to charge your vehicle for it to work properly. Depending on your make, model, and year, your EV could take between 4 and 20 hours or more to charge. Having a charging station in your home can certainly help, but you need to make sure you budget for that time to adequately charge your vehicle.

You can’t go as far or as long as gas cars

A major downside to owning an electric vehicle is that you can’t go as far or as long as you might want. Electric vehicles can typically go between 60-100 miles when fully charged, but many modern EVs may get up to 250 to 350 miles per charge. Compare that to up to a maximum of 400 miles on a single gas tank (depending on car and efficiency), it’s a notable difference. Going on a road trip is less ideal in this scenario with an electric car.

Finding a station can be tough

If you don’t have a charging station at home, you’re at the mercy of public charging stations. While some cities may have plentiful options, not every place does and it can all depend. The lack of stations in your area could present a challenge if you’re in a bind and need to go somewhere. Be sure to do research about charging stations in your neighborhood and what options are available.

Car insurance premiums may increase

Another downside to consider is that car insurance premiums may be higher with an electric vehicle. The website ValuePenguin found that electric vehicle insurance premiums were 23% higher than regular cars. Part of that is due to the fact that electric cars can be more expensive. So if something were to happen to you, it may cost more to repair.

Electric cars pros and cons

ProsCons 
You can save a lot of money Electric cars can be pricey 
Electricity is renewable Charging can be a lengthy process
You can reduce your environmental impact You can’t go as far or as long as gas cars 
You can take advantage of tax credits Finding a station can be tough 
Less maintenance is required Car insurance premiums may increase 
Better performance 

Are electric cars worth it?

If you’ve been thinking of buying a new car it’s natural to wonder, are electric cars worth it? The benefits of electric cars are generous and pretty clear cut but you also want to know about electric cars cons as well. It may cost more to buy and insure your car, but you’ll likely make up some of that with reduced costs on fuel.

If you are thinking about purchasing an electric vehicle, chances are you don’t drive much or are actively looking to drive less. Pay-per-mile auto insurance can be a good fit for you and help you lower car insurance costs.

You can see if pay-per-mile car insurance is right for you with Metromile. Download the Metromile app and take a Ride Along™ trial for free. For about two weeks, you’ll drive like you typically do (you should keep your existing insurance policy to keep covered during the trial). After, you’ll see how much you could save if you switched to a usage-based insurance policy.

Drivers can also save up to an extra 15% off their initial Metromile auto insurance quote if they show they’re a safe driver during their Ride Along™ in select states.

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.