South Dakota drivers have the shortest commute in the U.S.

Commuting is just about the least entertaining thing you can do in a car. Sitting in traffic in a sea of other miserable people might give you plenty of time to catch up on a podcast or audiobook, but it’s not great for your health and certainly doesn’t make you a more productive or dedicated employee.’s most recent Fact of the Week ranked the states with the shortest — and the longest — commutes, showing that some places have it way easier than others.

Sparsely populated South Dakota averaged the shortest commute time, in data gathered in 2022. Drivers there got to work in just 18 minutes, followed closely by its counterpart to the north. People in Wyoming had the third shortest commutes.

The 10 states with the shortest average commutes:

  1. South Dakota
  2. North Dakota
  3. Wyoming
  4. Montana
  5. Nebraska
  6. Alaska
  7. Iowa
  8. Kansas
  9. Idaho
  10. Utah

These commute times are averages of one-way travel, but the 18-minute low is just shy of half the time that people in New York spend behind the wheel. While some rural states, including Maine, rank higher up the list because of the distances between towns and jobs, places like South Dakota likely average lower because people work in their hometowns instead of driving between locations.

At the “top” of the list, New York, Maryland, and New Jersey have the longest commutes. New Yorkers spent an average of 33.2 minutes one-way, while the other two averaged more than half an hour. That said, those states’ numbers need to be viewed with the knowledge that a few significant population centers could be skewing the numbers.

For example, as of this year’s data, New York City has almost 8 million people, more than 10 times Hempstead’s population, the No. 2 city. Drivers in New Jersey suffer because of their proximity to New York and Philadelphia, though it’s also the most densely populated state in the nation.

Here is the full chart of findings, taken from U.S. Census data:

Average one-way commute time by state: