Except for housing, transportation was the largest single expenditure for the average American household in 2010. The average household spends more on transportation in a year than on food. Vehicle purchases, along with gasoline and motor oil, make up a large part of vehicle expenditures, but insurance, finance charges, repairs, vehicle rental and public transportation are all considered transportation.

2010 Share of Annual Household Expenditures

Notes: Transportation includes new and used vehicle purchases; gasoline and motor oil; maintenance and repairs; vehicle insurance; vehicle finance charges; vehicle rental and public transportation.

Other includes personal care products and services; reading; education; tobacco products and smoking supplies; cash contributions; personal insurance and pensions; and miscellaneous.

Supporting Information

2010 Share of Annual Household Expenditures
Expenditure TypePercent
Personal Insurance and Pensions11.2%
Health care6.6%
Apparel and Services3.5%
Source: 2011 Vehicle Technologies Market Report, Figure 19.

Return to 2012 Facts of the Week