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The mental math references for transportation are below. At the bottom of the page you’ll find a list of sources for each figure, with the precise data point from that source.

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General transportation stats

U.S. highway miles

Global road traffic deaths

Fuel consumption in U.S.

Container ships globally

Airports in the U.S.

Air traffic incidents

Speed of commercial airplane

Speed of high-speed train

Average car speed

Speed of cargo ship

Number of airlines globally

Parking spaces in U.S.

Bridges in U.S.

Tunnels in U.S.

Average vehicle lifetime

Average airplane lifetime

4 million

1 million/year

130 billion gallons/year




600 mph

150 mph

20 mph

15 knots


2 billion



10 years

30 years

Transportation methods

Global air travel passengers

U.S. air travel passengers

Avg. daily commute in U.S.

Electric vehicles globally

Public transit users in U.S.

Taxi cabs in New York City

Uber rides per day

Cruise ship passengers annually

Global bike sales

Trucking companies in U.S.

Global air cargo

2 billion/year

1 billion/year

30 minutes

20 million

30 million/day


10 million

20 million

200 million/year

2 million

50 million tons/year

Transportation costs

Cost of gallon of gasoline in U.S.

Cost of a subway ticket in New York

Cost of new car

Cost of electric vehicle

Cost of bicycle

Average price of airline ticket

Shipping freight rates








Note: All dollar figures are in USD.

Vehicle sales

Global car sales

U.S. car sales

EU car sales

China car sales

70 million/year

15 million/year

15 million/year

20 million/year

Market size

Global shipping market size

Global rail market size

$500 billion

$200 billion


General transportation stats

U.S. highway miles: 4.09 million — FHWA
Global road traffic deaths: 1.35 million/year — CDC
Fuel consumption in U.S.: 134.55 billion gallons/year — EIA
Container ships globally: 5,600 — Statista
Airports in the U.S.: 5,211 — Statista
Air traffic incidents: 1,622/year — Hive Law
Speed of commercial airplane: 600 mph — Aerotime
Speed of high-speed train: 155 mph — Wikipedia
Average car speed: 18.6 mph — Movotiv
Speed of cargo ship: 14.95 knots — Statista
Number of airlines globally: 5,000 — Wikipedia
Parking spaces in U.S.: 2 billion — CNN
Bridges in U.S.: 617,000 — Infrastructure Report Card
Tunnels in U.S.: 522 — FHWA
Average vehicle lifetime: 12 years — BTS
Average airplane lifetime: 20-30 years — Aviation File

Transportation methods

Global air travel passengers: 2.2 billion/year — Statista
U.S. air travel passengers: 853 million/year — BTS
Avg. daily commute in U.S.: 27.6 minutes — Zippia
Electric vehicles globally: 20 million — Statista
Public transit users in U.S.: 34 million/day — APTA
Taxi cabs in New York City: 13,587 —
Uber rides per day: 14 million — Ridester
Cruise ship passengers annually: 20.4 million — Statista
Global bike sales: 257 million/year — Statista
Number of trucking companies in U.S.: 1.86 million — Truck Info
Global air cargo: 65.6 million tons/year — Statista

Transportation costs

Cost of gallon of gasoline in U.S.: $3.93 — Y Charts
Cost of a subway ticket in New York: $2.90 — MTA
Cost of new car: $32,179 — Clark
Cost of electric vehicle: $53,438 — Clark
Cost of bicycle: $800— Ridepace
Average price of airline ticket: $253.75 — Bankrate
Shipping freight rates: $1,500/container— Statista

Vehicle sales

Global car sales: 67.2 million/year — Statista
U.S. car sales: 13.75 million/year — Statista
EU car sales: 15.24 million/year — Statista
China car sales: 23.6 million/year — Knoema

Market size

Global shipping market size: 10.85 billion tons — Fortune Business Insights
Global rail market size: $281.24 billion — Grandview Research