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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 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
District of Columbia7,013
New Hampshire11,570
New Jersey12,263
New Mexico19,157
New York10,167
North Carolina16,073
North Dakota17,671
Rhode Island9,961
South Carolina14,941
South Dakota15,541
West Virginia16,876

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, 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

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.

How to Buy a New Car in 8 Steps

How to Buy a New Car | Metromile

If your old car is on its last legs or you’re simply ready for an upgrade, a new car may be in your future. The car buying process can feel daunting, especially if you’re not sure where to start.
If you want to know how to buy a new car, consider these eight steps to find the right car for you.

How to buy a new car in 8 steps

1. Determine how much you can afford.

Understandably, you want a deal on your car purchase. No one wants to pay more than they really should.

Before you start, it’s essential to determine what you can afford. It’s fun to think about our “dream car,” but our budgets and lifestyle may have other ideas. 

To start, determine how you will pay for your car. You can pay cash or take on auto financing. 

If you have cash on hand, fantastic! If you decide to take an auto loan to finance your car purchase, you’ll need to keep in mind:

  • The overall total you’re borrowing (i.e., your loan amount)
  • Your monthly payment amount
  • The interest rate of the loan
  • Repayment term or how long your loan payments will last

Each of these factors will typically affect the total cost of your auto loan. 

After considering your current income, existing expenses, any debt you might have, and your other financial goals, make sure your car purchase doesn’t break your budget. Your budget will need to allow for everything else you want or need in your life.

2. Research vehicles.

After determining a budget for your new car purchase, research new vehicles that fit within your budget. You’ll also want to consider your lifestyle and needs as well. For example, you’ll need a different car if you’re living alone in a city than if you have a family and need to drive your kids around town.

A good place to find different makes and models of vehicles for sale is an online car marketplace. You can research new or used vehicles for sale, like how you might buy shoes or anything else online.

When shopping for a car, you’ll want to consider durability, dependability, and the total cost of car ownership. You might also want to understand:

  • Does the type of car typically need a lot of maintenance or repairs?
  • Are there known issues with the type of car?
  • What is the typical fuel efficiency or miles per gallon for the vehicle? 
  • What is the depreciation like on this model? 
  • How safe is the car?

When shopping for a car, it’s easy to look at upfront costs, such as the price of the car, the cost of any accessories or add-ons, or the fees associated with financing, but you’ll need to think about the long-term. As a car owner, you’ll also want to think about additional costs, including maintenance, repairs, gas, and depreciation as part of your budgeting.

3. Get pre-approved for an auto loan.

Cars are often expensive, so you might need to secure some financing before you can make the big purchase.

Before heading to a car dealership, look into getting pre-approved for an auto loan at a reputable bank, credit union, or lender. A good place to start is any financial institution you already have a relationship with, as they might be able to provide benefits or discounts because of your existing accounts. 

Getting pre-approved before you buy your car could also earn you a more competitive interest rate. Financing at a car dealership may not be the best available rate, and you may end up paying more than you would elsewhere. 

You also may have more leverage or room to negotiate prices or rates if you get a pre-approval ahead of time.

4. Get a car insurance quote.

On top of any monthly payments for your car and the regular costs of gas, maintenance, and repairs, you’ll also likely need to get car insurance coverage

The make and model of your vehicle impacts the price you pay for auto insurance. Before you make a car purchase, it could be beneficial to review average or typical car insurance premium costs for any car you’re considering.

If you don’t often drive (many Americans drive 40 miles or less every day), you could save money with a pay-per-mile car insurance policy. Car owners and drivers could save 47% a year on average, according to a 2018 survey of new customers who saved with Metromile.

5. Compare prices ahead of time and get quotes from a dealership.

Don’t start your car purchase unprepared.

It’s a good idea to do some legwork before heading to a car dealership or searching online. You’ll want to compare prices for specific makes and models so that you can easily spot if any quotes or prices are off base. 

You might find different prices for the same vehicles at different car dealerships or online car marketplaces. 

Often, you can email different dealerships and get a quote on any cars you’re considering. You can also use websites to research typical car prices and any discounts, incentives, or rebates that might be available.

When you ask for a quote, make sure you get the total cost of the car, inclusive of any taxes and fees, so that you can make fair, apples-to-apples comparisons.

Research ahead of time can keep you from getting overcharged or a lower trade-in value when you make your car purchase.

6. Schedule a test drive.

Once you’ve determined your budget and found car makes and models you like, it’s time to see if each car is the right fit for you and how you like to drive. That’s where a test drive comes in. 

Schedule a test drive ahead of time so that you can get a feel for the car and how it rides on the road. 

Plan on dedicating several hours to test driving so that you’re not rushed. Consider taking notes about features you like or don’t like on your phone, or bring a notepad with you for your test drive. Your notes can help you compare features or remind you of things you didn’t like after the test drive.

7. Score a deal.

Once you’ve found the car of your dreams, it’s time to move forward and look for the best price. 

If you have a pre-approved offer, use the quote or rate as a starting point for your negotiations.

Remember: You shouldn’t feel pressured into anything. A car is a major purchase and something you’ll have for a long time. It only makes sense that the purchase might take a long time, too.

Be sure to ask about any fees and be wary of any upsells. Consider declining any extras they try to sell you if you don’t really need them. 

You could also save money by opting for a shorter repayment term if you’re financing your car. You will have larger monthly payments, but you’ll typically pay less in interest over time.

8. Buy the car.

After you’ve done the research, taken a test drive, and determined how much and how you’ll pay for your car, it’s time to drive off with your new set of wheels. 

Before you get on the road, you’ll want to review any paperwork carefully. Don’t leave the dealership or make a purchase online without reviewing all the terms.

Don’t forget to ask about anything you don’t recognize and get any benefits, discounts, or complimentary add-ons you’ve negotiated in writing. After signing any paperwork, remember to keep a copy for yourself.

When buying a car, you can also ask if the dealership will register the vehicle for you. Car registration can be a complicated and lengthy process, but they may be able to help.

The bottom line

Buying a new car can be a rewarding process, but it can also be an overwhelming experience. These steps can help you get a good deal on your car and make an informed decision before you make a purchase.

After you make your purchase, you should also make sure you have the right car insurance coverage for your vehicle and lifestyle.

You can see if Metromile is right for you with a free trial. Download the Metromile app from your favorite app store and start a Ride Along™. After driving for about two weeks (you’ll want to keep your current insurance policy to keep your coverage during the trial), Metromile will tell you how much you could save by switching insurance companies. In some states, you can also earn up to an extra 15% off your initial Metromile quote for being a safe driver during your Ride Along™ trial.

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.

The Top 10 Questions About Electric Cars, Answered

How Do Electric Cars Work | Metromile

You’ve heard about electric cars, and now you’re thinking of buying one. The only problem might be that you have a few questions. 

While electric cars might be cool or more popular nowadays, there can still be some confusion. We’ve gone ahead and answered the top 10 most common questions about electric cars.

1. When was the first electric car made?

While you might think electric vehicles are a modern phenomenon, electric cars are older than you think. 

The first electric vehicle was created as early as 1828. It wasn’t until the 1870s that electric vehicles became smaller scale, more usable, and practical.

2. How do electric cars work?

Electric vehicles, sometimes called battery electric vehicles, “have an electric motor instead of an internal combustion engine,” according to the U.S. Department of Energy. “The vehicle uses a large traction battery pack to power the electric motor and must be plugged into a wall outlet or charging equipment, also called electric vehicle supply equipment.” 

Electric cars don’t use liquid fuel, so there aren’t any fuel pumps, fuel lines, or fuel tanks. Because they run on electricity, they also don’t emit any car exhaust from their tailpipes.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

3. Do electric cars use oil?

Electric cars don’t use oil. Instead, electric vehicles use electricity stored in a battery to run an electric motor.

Because electric vehicles operate differently from traditional cars, this also means they don’t require oil changes as a part of your car maintenance checklist.

4. Do electric cars have transmissions?

One of the major differences between conventional cars and electric vehicles is the transmission. Electric cars don’t have different speed transmissions. Instead, electric cars have just one single-speed transmission, which is part of the electric motor that runs the car.

5. How long does it take to charge an electric car?

Charge times for electric cars can vary based on different factors, such as the battery size and charging capacity. Cold weather and other environmental factors can also impact charging speed.

According to Kelley Blue Book, which used data from car manufacturers’ websites, electric vehicles can take as few as four hours to as long as 12 hours to max out its charge.

Here’s how long it might take for some common electric vehicles to charge fully:

Charging time of major electrical car models

6. How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

The cost to charge an electric vehicle depends on local electricity costs and whether you have to pay to use a charger. In California, electric vehicles might cost about $7 or more to fully charge. 

According to, there are sometimes free public chargers available, while other chargers may have a flat fee, a monthly subscription, or a per-use cost by time. 

You can also consider purchasing an at-home charger for your vehicle, which could cost between $400 to $1,000. You should also budget for any installation or set-up costs, such as fees, permits, or long-term maintenance.

7. How do I charge an electric car?

There are three main ways to charge an electric vehicle: 

  1. Level 1 charger: This is a regular 120-volt outlet in your home and the slowest way to charge your car. Your car will likely come with a cord for you to use this type of charging at home. 
  2. Level 2 charger: If you’re looking to charge your electric car outside of the home, it’ll likely be a 240-volt or 208-volt charger. Level 2 chargers can charge your electric vehicle more quickly. You can also install a Level 2 charger at home. 
  3. Fast charger: Fast or rapid electric vehicle chargers, sometimes called DC fast charging or DC quick charging, is typically the fastest charge available. You could get up to 50 miles or more in range after about 20 minutes. Fast charging isn’t available for all electric cars, so be sure to check your car owner’s manual before you try to use a fast charger. 

You’ll want to check your owner’s manual to see which type of charger works with the make and model of your electric car.

8. How much are electric cars?

Electric vehicles vary in price by make, model, and year, with some costing as much as a traditional entry-level car.

Here are the typical starting costs of some common electric vehicles in the United States:

typical car cost for electrical models

9. Are electric cars better for the environment?

Electric vehicles can be better for the environment because they can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Because they don’t use fossil fuels or gas to run an engine or motor, electric vehicles don’t produce any tailpipe emissions.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “While charging the battery may increase pollution at the power plant, total emissions associated with driving electric vehicles are still typically less than those for gasoline cars—particularly if the electricity is generated from renewable energy sources like wind.”

10. Who makes electric car batteries?

As electric cars become more popular and commonplace, the need for electric car batteries has increased. There are now many electric car battery manufacturers. 

According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, many electric vehicle battery pack manufacturers are assembled in the United States. 

Some major electric car battery manufacturers include:

battery makes for electrical cars

The bottom line

Electric vehicles aren’t just a trendy fad but are here to stay. They can be a more environmentally friendly way to drive compared to traditional cars.

If you drive an electric car or 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.

Should You Buy Premium or Regular Gas?

Types of Gas for Cars: Premium or Regular | Metromile

If you’re like many drivers, you buy the regular unleaded gasoline and don’t think much about the different types of gas.

For those who are curious about whether to buy premium or regular gas, this short guide will explain the different types of gas for cars and what you should know.

What makes up gasoline?

According to the Energy Information Administration, “gasoline is a fuel made from crude oil and other petroleum liquids. Gasoline is mainly used as an engine fuel in vehicles. Petroleum refineries and blending facilities produce motor gasoline for sale at retail gasoline fueling stations.”

The gasoline you’re used to is actually unfinished gasoline combined with additional liquids such as ethanol. It’s these different blends that determine the different types of gas that are typically listed by grade at the gas pump.

Different types of gas by grade, explained

There are three different types of gas at most U.S. gas stations, typically differentiated by their octane ratings:

  • Regular gas (typically 87 octane) is one of the most common fuel types. Many car manufacturers recommend regular gas, and it’s many drivers’ go-to option. Regular gas is a budget-friendly gas option and is standard for many vehicles. 
  • Mid-grade gas (usually 88 to 90) is a specialty gas. Some vehicles are made to run on gasoline with a higher octane level. For example, some sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) require mid-grade gasoline. The higher octane level can be good for performance.
  • Premium gas (often 91 to 94) is often the highest octane gas sold. A car rarely needs premium gasoline, but some vehicles designed for high performance may require a higher octane level.

You might also see the different gas grades referred to as unleaded, super, or super-premium. 

Using the right fuel for your vehicle can boost its performance and efficiency. If your car doesn’t require a higher octane level, there’s no need to use a more expensive type of gas. It could even potentially damage your vehicle if you fill up with the wrong type of gas.

Understanding premium gas vs. regular gas

When you’re reviewing different types of gas, it’s important to note that the octane level measures the gasoline’s compression. 

The main difference between premium gas and regular gas is the octane rating. This affects the engine’s performance and compression. 

Aside from that major difference, of course, there’s the difference in price points as well. 

Regular unleaded gas is typically the cheapest gas to purchase, as it is the most common.

Premium gas is typically the most expensive gas to buy. Some luxury car manufacturers and manufacturers of sports cars or foreign cars recommend higher-octane, premium gas to achieve the best engine efficiency. 

Double-check whether your car manufacturer requires premium or recommends premium gas. Your vehicle owner’s manual will tell you which gas you should use to get the expected vehicle performance.

Should I buy mid-grade gas?

Few car manufacturers suggest mid-grade gas. It has slightly more additives than regular gas, but generally, the results won’t be noticeably better.

If your vehicle doesn’t require mid-grade gas, you’ll be spending extra money without getting a meaningful improvement.

What kind of gas should I get for my vehicle?

When it comes to types of gas for cars, your car owner’s manual will list the recommended gas for your exact vehicle. 

Don’t splurge or use more premium gas because it won’t necessarily allow your vehicle to run faster or get better gas mileage if it only needs regular gas.

Can I use diesel for my car?

Diesel fuel has a much lower octane rating of 25 to 30. If your car manufacturer doesn’t recommend diesel, you shouldn’t fill up your car with it, even if it costs less than regular gas.

Diesel can cause damage to your vehicle’s engine because of the lower compression and octane level. You don’t want to get stuck with costly and unneeded car repairs.

Is the type of gas you use important to your car’s health?

You want to keep your car in good shape, so you may think splurging on a higher octane rating is better. Not exactly. 

If your car manual calls for a premium or mid-grade gas, but you pump regular gas instead, the lower octane level could reduce engine power, damage your car health, and lower fuel economy.

In contrast, filling your car up with premium gas when your car owner’s manual calls for regular gas may not damage your engine, but it probably won’t do much besides costing more money.

How does regular car maintenance keep your vehicle in good health?

Keeping up with regular maintenance like oil changes, having the proper tires, and being aware of any issues can help keep your car in good health. An easy way to keep your car running in tip-top shape for longer is to drive less.

Low-mileage drivers put less wear and tear on their cars. Driving less frequently generally means you’ll need to maintain your car less frequently, too.

Switching to pay-how-you-drive auto insurance could be a good idea if you don’t drive much. Metromile’s pay-per-mile insurance policies focus on the miles you drive, so people who don’t fill up often could also pay less for car insurance.

The table below shows the average annual car insurance savings enjoyed by new Metromile customers:

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

If it’s an option, taking public transportation could also help you save money at the gas station.

The bottom line

There are many types of gas out there. If you want to save money on gas and keep your car healthy, stick to what your car manufacturer suggests. It’ll save you money and hassle. 

If you don’t drive much and are rarely at the gas station, you can get a free quote from Metromile and try pay-per-mile auto insurance (you’ll need to keep your current policy to remain covered) with the free Ride Along™ trial before 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.

What’s the Most Environmentally Friendly Transportation Option when Traveling?

Top 10 Modes of Transportation while Traveling Ranked by Environmental Impact

As the world starts to open up again after the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are looking forward to traveling again. After staying home for months and months, people are ready to explore new places and have adventures, including so-called “vaxications,” or vacations to celebrate your vaccination.

Aside from traveling costs, you might want to evaluate how you travel in more detail. We’ve reviewed different types of transportation and came up with the top 10 modes of transport by environmental impact.

1. Walking

Though walking may not get you to a new destination, getting around via your own two feet is one of the top ways to travel once you’re in a new city. 

While walking, you’ll be outside, which is considered safer than indoors with current COVID-19 public health guidelines. Better still, you can reduce carbon emissions compared to driving or other transportation methods. 

Walking is also an affordable way to get around (free!) and can be another way to get some exercise while traveling.

2. Biking

Biking is another environmentally and cost-effective way to get around. Taking a bicycle can also help reduce carbon dioxide emissions compared to public transportation, driving, or other forms of travel.

Biking can also be a good way to travel outdoors and help you avoid crowds, which can help you stay healthy.

3. Scooter

In the past few years, we’ve seen the rise of micro-mobility options, most notably scooter rentals. New companies have placed electric scooters in many major cities, which can be convenient depending on where you might need to go.

While electric scooters have an environmental impact, especially compared to cycling or walking, many rental companies are working to reduce their carbon footprint and environmental impact so that you can take a short trip without worry.

4. Subway

Public transportation is one of the most affordable and environmentally conscious travel options. Depending on your city and how far you might need to go, a subway fare might set you back only a few dollars.

The subway also has the benefit of carrying a lot more people than other transportation methods, helping to reduce everyone’s carbon footprint, especially when compared to driving. Many cities and regions are also working to reduce the emissions of their subway trains.

5. Motorcycles

If you know how to ride a motorcycle, it can be a great (and fun!) way to travel. Just make sure to stay safe, as riding motorcycles can also be dangerous. Motorcyclists account for a significant amount of crash-related fatalities, much higher than the proportion of vehicles they make up on the road.

From an environmental standpoint, it has less of an impact than cars. According to the EPA, greenhouse gas emissions for motorcycles in 2019 were 3.6 teragrams of carbon dioxide, making it the most environmentally-friendly option compared to other on-road vehicles.

6. Buses

When considering types of transportation with a smaller environmental impact, buses are another good option to consider. 

Buses also tend to be more affordable than driving and might cost anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars depending on the city or region and where you might want to go. 

Buses also have a smaller impact on the environment. According to the EPA, as of 2019, buses had a total of 22.2 teragrams of carbon dioxide, making it second in line when it comes to the fewest emissions for on-road vehicles next to motorcycles.

7. Rail

Another efficient way to travel is by train.

The train can also be one of the more relaxing modes of transportation. Think of railways, such as Amtrak, which can let you see the country or get from one city to another quickly. If you’re outside of the U.S., taking the train can also be a more efficient way to travel to different regions or countries than flying. 

Costs can sometimes add up, depending on your route and when you want to travel, so you may want to do some research before leaving. You may also want to budget some extra time, as traveling by rail can also be slower than other transportation options.

According to EPA data from 2019, greenhouse gas emissions from rail travel were 37.6 teragrams of carbon dioxide.

8. Commercial airlines

Flying can be an efficient way to travel, especially if you need to go the distance. However, travel by air has some of the highest environmental impacts, and there have been growing concerns about air pollution from commercial airlines.

According to the EPA, as of 2019, greenhouse gas emissions of commercial airlines were 135.4 teragrams of carbon dioxide.

While the environmental impact can be hefty, sometimes you have no choice but to fly, and as a major form of public transportation, it can be better than other options.

9. SUV or minivans

If you plan to take a road trip or go off-roading, you might want to drive a sports utility vehicle or minivan. Be aware that the environmental impact of these vehicles, what the EPA calls “light-duty trucks,” can be high. Generally, SUVs or minivans have less fuel efficiency than smaller passenger vehicles, which can add up to pricey gas bills and a larger environmental impact.

The total greenhouse gas emissions for light-duty trucks were 323.1 teragrams of carbon dioxide in 2019, according to the EPA.

While a significant amount, the carbon emissions from SUVs or minivans is still less than medium and heavy-duty trucks at 444.4 teragrams of carbon dioxide. 

Fortunately, medium and heavy-duty trucks aren’t often used for transportation because of their cargo and commercial applications.

10. Passenger cars

When it comes to the least environmentally friendly type of transportation, passenger cars top the list. The EPA defines passenger cars as vehicles typically used to transport 12 or fewer people.

According to the EPA, as of 2019, passenger cars have a total of 762.3 teragrams of carbon dioxide, a considerable contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. 

While driving a car may not be the best for the environment, it’s possible to lessen your overall impact by driving an electric vehicle or a hybrid car to use less fossil fuels. Driving an electric vehicle or a hybrid vehicle could also help you save money on gas by filling up less often or not at all.

Our Methodology

We considered the environmental impact by analyzing greenhouse gas emissions by volume of different common transportation methods using data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA measures greenhouse gas emissions using teragrams of carbon dioxide.

The bottom line

If you’re traveling, it can be overwhelming to consider the different types of transportation available. You may want to consider each method’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and their environmental impact. You might also want to consider affordability, convenience, and safety.

If you like to consider your environmental impact, you may want to consider Metromile to insure your car.

Metromile provides pay-as-you-drive auto insurance, incentivizing people to drive less and choose more environmentally friendly transportation methods. Because your rate is based on how much you drive, you could pay a lower rate if you don’t often drive.

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.