Is It About the Drive?

People are spending more on things related to their vehicles

By Gary S. Vasilash

Taken all together, automotive loan or lease payments, insurance and gas had a collective increase of 18% in May compared to the start of the year, according to Morning Consult.

What’s more, the research firm found that when faced with cutting back on car travel—including such means as using public transport—or paying more to stay in one’s own vehicle, U.S. consumers opted for the latter approach.

In its monthly survey of household finance data, Morning Consult looks at 11 categories of spending, ranging from gasoline to utilities.

While the percentage increase from January to May for medical care was 19% and 17% for restaurants, the increases for gas and car insurance were 27% and 16%, respectively.

When it comes to monthly spending averages, the car lease/loan payment in January 2021 was $140 and it saw a marginal increase of $18 through May. Car insurance was $105 and got a $17 bump. Gasoline had a notable comparative increase, from $91 in January to an add of $24 through May.

But the spending for public transportation was $59 in January. And there was a $0 marginal increase through May.

Is this an issue of people liking the drive—or simply not wanting to share transportation space with strangers?

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