COVID-19

Study looks at the time and money people are saving by not commuting

Andy Uhler Sep 2, 2020
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Los Angeles' famously crowded freeways were empty in April, during the height of the pandemic, as many office workers stayed home. Mario Tama/Getty Images
COVID-19

Study looks at the time and money people are saving by not commuting

Andy Uhler Sep 2, 2020
Heard on:
Los Angeles' famously crowded freeways were empty in April, during the height of the pandemic, as many office workers stayed home. Mario Tama/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Prior to the pandemic, hopping in their cars to go to work was just what a lot of folks did. 

A new study from the car-shopping app CoPilot found that newly remote workers nationwide have gained, on average, a little more than 10% of their workweek back. All that time and money people spend getting to the office and back also adds up to some serious cash.

Bill Eisele said his commute in central Texas before COVID-19 was about 25 minutes each way. He knows that’s relatively short. Eisele’s a research engineer at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

“In 2017, each auto commuter was wasting $1,000 being stuck in traffic,” he said.

That’s $1,000 a year for time and fuel. He said people like him who can work from home are saving that time and money.

“I can’t imagine how that doesn’t continue to influence for quite some time,” Eisele said.

For years, government policies have tried to encourage people to take public transit or commute in different ways. Elliot Martin, research and development engineer at the University of California, Berkeley, said now companies might develop new policies to encourage telecommuting.

“I think the design of these policies potentially could receive new attention and new review based on what we’ve learned,” Martin said.

He said cutting out the commute also reduces gasoline consumption and CO2 emissions. 

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What do vaccines mean for economic recovery?

COVID-19 is not going anywhere anytime soon, according to expert witnesses who testified at a recent hearing held by the Joint Economic Committee. Put simply, we can’t eradicate the virus because it infects other species, and there will also be folks who choose not to get the vaccine or don’t mount an immune response, according to Dr. Céline Gounder at NYU School of Medicine & Bellevue Hospital. “That means we can’t only rely on vaccination,” Gounder said. She said the four phases of recovering from the pandemic are ending the emergency, relaxing mitigation measures, getting to herd immunity and having long-term control.

Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.

What do I need to know about tax season this year?

Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.

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