Gas Costs Attack Suburbs, Suburbs Attack the Planet

If you haven’t yet, click over to the H+T Affordability Index and have a look around. They’ve mapped household gasoline expenses, CO2 emissions and housing and transportation costs by percentage of household income. You can find methodology behind the maps on their site.

The quick take? Here we can see the substantial impact increasingly expensive gasoline prices are having. Nearly every household outside the urban core is spending more than $2,700 per year on gasoline and those much outside the I-270 loop are likely paying $3,600 per year or more. Those outside the urban core often do not have the choice to take the bus or train, ride their bicycle or walk to work.

{annual household gasoline expenses}

We also see, unsurprisingly, that households in the suburban areas of St. Louis pay a larger percentage of their income for housing and transportation. If you’re a millionaire living in Ladue spending 50% or more of your income in this manner likely leaves you with plenty of disposable income, however for most this is an incredible (and unnecessary) burden.

{housing and transportation costs}

Finally we can see the disproportionate contribution that suburban households make to CO2 in our environment. More driving and more heating and cooling use more fuel, more energy and produce more CO2. Many people are discovering that the combination of harmful environmental effects and increasing cost makes a more urban lifestyle desirable. Hopefully our urban cores will do their best to offer viable transit options and a variety of quality housing and school choices so that they can capitalize on this competitive advantage.