Power Consumption of Average Commuter

Average Power Consumption/Commute/Day for the USA Worker

Using Census data collected from the internet, I have generated an average power consumption value for commuters in the USA. These commuters are driving alone in a car, truck or van to work.

Question: How much power does an average car user consume on his/her trip to and from work every day?

Data Used:

The average distance to work is 12.11 miles, so I doubled that to get 24.11 miles as the average round trip distance.

The average car gets 17.11 miles per gallon. The average includes all cars, trucks, and vans.

One gallon of gas gives you 1.3 x 108 J of energy.

Power = Energy/time

P = energy used/day
= [ (distance traveled /day) / (distance traveled /fuel used) ] x [Energy / unit of fuel]
= [ (24.22 miles/1day) / 17.1 miles/gal)] x [1.3 x 108 J/gal]
= 1.8 x 108 J/day

If we convert J to KWhr:
1kWhr (1000W/kW) ( 1Js-1/1w)(3600s/hr) = 3.6 x 106 J

[1.8 x 108 J/day ] x [1 kWhr/3.6 x 106 J]
= 51 kWhr/day


US Census data

US Census data (tables)

National Household Travel Survey

Bureau of Transportation Statistics


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License