• Europes biggest bike selection

    This is how much money commuters in big cities around the world could save by cycling to work

    Anja Benson
    Anja Benson
    Jun 28, 2024 7 min
    This is how much money commuters in big cities around the world could save by cycling to work

    Cycling has been on the rise in recent years, with the pandemic further accelerating this trend in cities worldwide.

    And the increased popularity of the sport in general also means that more people are using their two wheels to commute to work. Data from the US Department of Transportation shows an increase in the number of people commuting to work by bicycle over the last couple of years, which equates to around just under 350,000 Americans. 

    There are lots of reasons why this may be the case with benefits including helping people keep fit and healthy, cutting carbon emissions for our planet and not to mention avoiding the frustration of traffic jams.

    Another benefit that perhaps many overlook is that cycling to work can save you money. 

    Quite a bit of money, in fact. 

    Driving is becoming more expensive in the United States as previously falling gas prices spiked at the start of this year, sparked by higher oil costs, reveals Forbes.

    And while the American Public Transport Association states that monthly public transit fare prices here have not increased since 2020, some US cities have ranked as having some of the most expensive ticket costs in the world.

    That’s why, at buycycle, we’ve found out how much the average commuter could save if they swapped their car or public transport journey for one on two wheels across the world’s largest and most cosmopolitan cities.

    Of course, we recognize that some workers have adopted a more hybrid approach to work since the pandemic, so savings will be lower for those who don’t commute five days a week.

    Let’s take a look!

    How much money cycling commuting could save you in the US

    Interesting findings

    • California stands out as the state where the most savings can be made with the top three cities offering the highest salary savings for car users switching to bikes being in the state.
    • San Jose is the Californian city ranking the lowest for savings as a result of high average salaries and lower gas prices than elsewhere in the state.
    • Philadelphia in Pennsylvania is the US city that averaged out as being able to have the highest savings across both car and public transport commuters, ranking fourth and third respectively.
    • Of the cities in the study where the average public transport commuting distance is available, New York comes out as the city with the shortest commute but the highest overall monthly pass, paying around 36 cents per distance traveled.

    San Francisco

    It’s no secret that San Francisco’s diverse workforce (which spans roles in tech giants, finance, biotech firms, and creative industries) has to navigate a daily commute consisting of long travel times and congestion. Recent news reports reveal that the city’s rush hour traffic was one of the worst in the US last year. And workers are paying the price of this, literally.

    Despite having the biggest monthly wage of American cities in the study, San Francisco was also the US city where the highest percentage of salary was spent on driving to and from work. On average, San Franciscans spend around 7% of their $7,711 pay slip on commuting by car. Their average one-way distance of 38.45 miles can end up costing them around $339.14 per month.

    New York

    Whether they’re heading to Wall Street or Broadway, New York’s bustling workforce heavily relies on the city’s public transport system for its daily commute. However, those who do use the subway system and commuter trains have to grapple each day with packed carriages and long journeys. Well, commuters in the Big Apple could avoid having to deal with this daily - and save some money in the process - by cycling to work.

    Of those who use public transport, the average New Yorker’s commute is just 8.44 miles between their home and their place of work. A distance that is definitely cyclable and will likely seem more appealing when they learn that doing so could save them $132.00 per month! Although the cost of commuting only equates to 2.31% of their monthly salary, it's still a chunk of money that could be easily saved.

    And what about elsewhere in the world?

    How much money cycling commuting could save you around the world

    Interesting findings

    • On average, people in the world’s biggest cities are spending around 5.54% of their monthly salary on driving to work and 2.46% of those who use public transport.
    • Drivers in Zurich could save $385.19 per month by cycling, although this only equates to 4.70% of their hefty salary.
    • Kuwait City is the city in which commuters spend the least amount of their salary on driving to work, with gas to and from their workplace only costing around 1.22% of their monthly wages.
    • At the time of this study, Hong Kong was the city seeing the highest gas prices with the average gallon costing the equivalent of $11.66. 
    • When it comes to the furthest commutes, San Francisco took the trophy with an average distance of 38.45 miles each way for those using a car, followed by Los Angeles with a 36.03-mile average.
    • The shortest average commute is for those in Gothenburg, using public transportation, with a distance of just 1.24 miles.

    Let’s take a deep dive…


    Only last year was London ranked as the most congested city in the world, with drivers spending an average of 156 hours stuck in traffic during 2022 according to data. But Government reports released in 2023 revealed that cyclists are now the single largest vehicular mode counted during peak times on City streets. 

    Aside from avoiding traffic jams and not having to play sardines on London’s underground network, another reason will undoubtedly be the cost-saving benefit of cycling to work in the city. Londoners commuting on the tube are spending around 5% of their monthly salary just to get to and from work and could save as much as $255.50 each month on their average 12-mile journeys if they cycled. 

    Buenos Aires 

    Perhaps the most shocking of statistics is that those commuting to work by car in Buenos Aires could be using as much as a fifth of their salary on doing so. Its sprawling urban layout and limited public transport mean that driving to work is a necessity for many professionals but it appears to be costing them around 19.63% of their $428.65 monthly salary.

    Their average 14-mile commute will add up to costing Porteños the equivalent of $84.13 each month, with gas in Buenos Aires costing around $3.47 per gallon. The city, and Argentina in general, has been grappling with fuel costs in the last year with prices having more than doubled in the last few months according to reports. There is certainly a lot to be said for cycling to work in Buenos Aires, particularly from a cost point of view, and there are positive plans in place to add to the 250 km bike lanes it has in place already.


    Speaking of the biggest savings to be made by cycling to work, it is commuters in Bogota who could recoup the most. On average, Bogotanos use 10.67% of their monthly salary commuting to work on public transport, with the average monthly cost of a pass being around $40. Considering that the average commute distance is just 3.73 miles, it’s definitely cyclable and it’s made even more appealing knowing that they could save a tenth of their paycheck.

    Commuting by public transport doesn’t sound like a pleasurable experience either. Statista data has shown that Colombia's capital ranked first for the Latin American city with the highest average time that people spend on public transport on their way to work, with an average commute time of an hour and 37 minutes!


    A list of worldwide cities was compiled using Resonance’s list of “World's Best Cities” and a list of US cities was taken from the 50 most populous.

    For each city, we found the average price of monthly commutes when using a car or public transport, where available. 

    For driving commutes, we calculated the amount of gas needed for the average commute distance of each city and found the cost of this using the current gas price in that city. 

    For commutes via public transport, we used the average price of a monthly train/underground pass in each city.

    We then found out the average monthly salary in each city, after tax, and calculated what percentages of this the average commuting costs are.

    Data is correct as of June 2024. A full dataset is available upon request.