Vehicle Breakdowns Cost US Economy $41B Per Year

Here at Agero we get a firsthand glimpse at the daily disruption that tens of thousands of Americans face when their transmission fails on the highway or their battery dies in the mall parking lot. Most drivers will spend a few hours resolving the problem, get on with their day, and hope they don’t need to think about car issues for a long time.

But with 69 million vehicle breakdowns occurring in the U.S. each year, equivalent to 1 in 3 drivers, we wanted to go beyond the mechanics of individual events to explore how breakdowns affect our economy and society as a whole. Besides the roadside and tow operator service costs, what is the financial impact of all the time that drivers spend dealing with their car when they were planning on being at work or picking up their children from school? What about the time other drivers lose when they are sitting in traffic behind a stuck car? How much does it cost to repair the car, or buy a new tire or battery once the car is off the road? And when hundreds of service providers and drivers are injured or killed on the side of the road after breakdowns, what is the cost to our society of the medical bills and the loss of life?

We dug into Agero’s data from millions of annual roadside events, combined it with information available from government agencies and reputable research institutions, and this is what we learned:


What stood out to us from this study is how widely the impact of any single event can be felt by more than just the vehicle driver. While drivers themselves lose 260 million hours of their own time waiting for help and getting their cars repaired, businesses feel the direct productivity hit from losing the equivalent of 30 million employee workdays. When we add in the 150 million drivers who sit in traffic behind stuck cars, it is not difficult to see how lost time can add up to an $11 billion impact.

We would love to hear what you think about this study. Feel free to leave us your thoughts in the form below. And if you’re looking for more cool insights and thought leadership, check out our other pieces on the Agero blog.



Meet the Author: Elliot Gordon - Product Marketing Manager

Elliot Gordon is a key member of Agero's marketing team. As Product Marketing Manager, he helps clients learn about new and existing products and features, and conducts market intelligence and consumer research to help clients get the most out of their roadside programs. Prior to Agero he held roles in marketing, market research, and product management in a variety of different industries. Elliot holds an MBA from Boston University and received his B.A. from University of Pennsylvania.

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