Many Americans Prepared to Give up $8k of Their Salary to Avoid Commuting in 2024

By: Lauren | Published: Feb 07, 2024

There has been an extensive debate over the past few years as to whether working from home or a traditional office setting is better for both businesses and workers alike.

However, many companies have decided that they do want their employees back in the office. And according to a recent study, many Americans are willing to sacrifice $8,000 of their annual salary to skip the commute and stay home.

The Gunther Volvo Cars Coconut Creek Survey

Gunther Volvo Cars Coconut Creek decided to conduct a survey to find out how Americans feel about commuting again, as well as working from home.

Exterior of Gunther Volvo Cars Coconut Creek at dusk

Source: Gunther Volvo Cars

Within the study, they asked 3,000 workers from around the county, “How much of your salary would you sacrifice to avoid commuting in 2024?”


The Average American Would Give Up $8,322 a Year to Avoid Commuting

According to the data they collected, Gunther found out that, on average, Americans would be willing to give up a whopping $8,322 if they didn’t have to commute to work.

Blurred photograph of cars stuck in traffic

Source: Freepik

However, they also noted that the number drastically changed depending on where people live and work.

Californians Really Don’t Want to Go in to Work

The study showed that, of residents of every state, those who live in California were the most willing to sacrifice income in order to skip the commute.

Traffic on the highway in Los Angeles, California

Source: David McNew/Newsmakers/Getty Images

Californians said they would make up to $13,759 less every year to work from home. And although the survey participants didn’t say why they were so willing to sacrifice to avoid commuting, it likely has something to do with the state’s ever growing traffic problem.

New Yorkers Will Give Up Thousands to Work from Home

New York City is also known for horrific traffic congestion. So, it makes sense that New Yorkers said they would be willing to make $12,631 less so they don’t have to travel to and from an office every day.

Man sleeping against the window on a bus

Even though many New Yorkers use public transport, it appears the majority would be happy with less money to avoid those long and crowded rides on the subway.

Residents of Montana Are Much Happier to Go Into the Office

With New York and California at the top of the list, Montana is at the very bottom. In fact, Montana residents would only take a $429 salary decrease to work from home.

Route 200 in eastern Montana is a quiet and lonely highway that runs through miles of open range and farms

Source: William Campbell/Corbis/Getty Images

Of course, Montana’s open roads and lower gas prices may have something to do with that decision.


Commuting Costs American Money

One aspect of the results of this survey to consider is that the participants may have considered the fact that not commuting will save them a significant amount of money over the course of the year.

Gasoline prices for full-serve and self-serve are displayed at Beverly Hills gas station

Source: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Gas prices have skyrocketed over the past few years, and as of 2023, the average American spends $2,148 on gasoline every year. And for residents in states where gas is even more expensive, like California, skipping the commute could save them thousands every year.


Skipping the Commute Means More Free Time

While commuting can be both frustrating and expensive, it’s also quite time consuming. Many Americans may be willing to sacrifice some of their annual income simply to have more time to themselves.

Man excited to be finished work for the day

Source: Freepik

Most Americans already dedicate more than 40 hours to their jobs every week, leaving little time in the mornings or evenings for exercising, time with friends and family, or even just running errands. So, shaving off several hours a week getting to and from work could make a big difference.


It’s Not Just About Wasting Time in the Car

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent lockdown, millions of people in America and around the world learned what life would be like if they worked from home full-time.

Woman sitting on the couch with her laptop

Source: Freepik

Some love that they can work in their pajamas, others believe they can get more done without office distractions, and many Americans say it gives them more time to do the things they love. But no matter what the reason, the fact that so many people are willing to give up part of their salary to skip the commute may be more about the desire to work from home than anything else.


Working from Home Has Been Especially Attractive to Parents

The work-from-home option has become especially popular among parents. Those who have to commute to an office are forced to take time off when their child is sick or pay for expensive childcare.

Mother holding infant while working on the computer

Source: Freepik

But by working from home, they are able to ensure their children are being cared for while still making an income.


Working from Home Doesn’t Always Mean Being at Home

Another attractive aspect of the work from home option is that it doesn’t mean a person has to literally be at home. Most corporations have some regulations for employees who want to work abroad. However, as long as an employee is within the United States, there really are no rules.

Woman working on laptop at a beach with snorkel gear

Source: EyesWideOpen/Getty Images

That means someone could work from their favorite cafe, at a friend or family member’s home, or even outside with a beautiful view.


Money May Not Be as Important as Happiness

The Gunther Volvo Cars Coconut Creek survey didn’t specify why so many Americans said they would be willing to give up several thousands a year to work from home instead of commuting.

Messy pile of US $100 bills

Source: Freepik

However, it seems that general consensus among those surveyed is that their personal happiness, whether that’s less time in the car, more time with family, or working in their pajamas, may be at least slightly more important than money.