Getting to work costs more in South Dakota

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) – About 40% of workers in South Dakota are commuting at least 10 miles to work and with gas prices about $1.50 higher than last year, work travel is more expensive.

Commuter figures come from the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation. These are the latest numbers and they are based on 2019 data.

Although the bulk of employed workers in the state travel less than 10 miles to get to work, about 58,000 travel at least 10 miles. Another 32,754 have at least a 25 mile trip and 64,010 have more than 50 miles of trip.

How much more are commuters paying for that commute to work these days?

A year ago, the average pump price for regular gasoline in South Dakota was $2.903 a gallon, according to the AAA. This week, the average price per gallon is $4.369.

According to the South Dakota Department of Revenue, the state has more registered trucks, SUVs and vans than any other vehicle. That means there’s a good chance a commuter will be driving one of those 741,128 state-registered type vehicles in 2021.

Calculate the price of the trip paid using an 18 mpg SUV, which is one of the mpg for a 2019 economy SUV, according to the US Department of Energy. If you drive 18 miles to work one way, it would cost you about $4.37, depending on traffic. It’s $8.74 per day for the round trip and about $44 per week. It’s $176 per month.

An 18-mile trip at 18 mpg would have cost $2,903 on average last year, according to the AAA.

A 36-mile round trip would have cost $5,806 in 2021. That’s about $29 a week at five business days.

So for those driving a 36-mile round trip each day to work for five days, that’s $15 more each week than in 2021. That’s about $60 more per month.

The SD DLR map graph below shows commuter patterns for the entire state. About 25,400 people employed in South Dakota live out of state. About 19,000 live in the state but work out of state. The bulk of the people (363,267) employed in the state live in the state.

A map showing commuter patterns for the entire state. The map was prepared by the Labor Market Information Center of the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation.

While many state workers have less than 10 miles to commute, the next largest group of commuters are those who commute more than 50 miles.

About 64,000 people commute more than 50 miles for 16.5% of the state’s workforce.

For those who live in Campbell County in northern South Dakota, a 55-mile ride will be cheaper than in Minnehaha County because the average price per gallon is $4,099 in Campbell County, according to the ‘AAA.

The average price is $4.34 in Minnehaha County.

There were 320,501 passenger cars registered in the state in 2021.

The average mileage for a 2019 car was 24.9 mpg, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shared by the University of Michigan.

If the trip is 51 miles in an average 2019 car with about 25 mpg, then that’s about two gallons of gas one way at $4,369 for a total of $8,738. That’s 102 miles round trip, or about $17.50. That’s about $87.50 for a total five-day work week.

The same daily trip was $2.908 per gallon in 2021, or about $11.60 for a 102-mile daily round trip. That totals about $58 for a five-day work week.

It’s not just workers who live and commute in South Dakota who are being affected by rising gas prices. The DLR said workers from at least six other states were working in South Dakota.

About the same number of workers live in Iowa (6,959) and Minnesota (6,770). Another 4,714 live in Nebraska.

Maria D. Ervin