How Many Calories Do I Burn Driving 2024? Surprising Insights

It may seem like a passive activity, but there’s more to driving than meets the eye. “How Many Calories Do I Burn Driving? Surprising Insights” takes you through the unexpected calorie burn behind the wheel.

How Many Calories Do I Burn Driving?

Why You Burn Calories While Driving:

  • Your body is always at work, even during driving.
  • Activities like steering and focusing on the road increase your metabolic rate slightly above your resting rate.

Calculating Calories Burned:
You can use a calorie calculator to determine how many calories you burn. These nifty tools consider factors like your:

  • Weight
  • Driving time
  • Type of driving (city, highway)

An average person can use a formula involving MET values (Metabolic Equivalent of Task).

Example of a Simple Formula:
(MET value for driving * your weight in kg * time in hours) / 200 = calories burned

A common MET value for driving is 2.5. So, if you weigh 68 kg and drive for 30 minutes, the math would look like this:

(2.5 * 68 * 0.5) / 200 = about 42.5 calories

That’s an estimated calorie burn during a half-hour of driving! Aside from using manual calculations, you could opt for an online calculator to make the process instant and easy.

Factors Affecting Calories Burned:

  • Your body weight
  • Duration and intensity of driving
  • Whether you’re the driver or a passenger

Factors Influencing Caloric Burn in Drivers

A car dashboard with a digital display showing the number of calories burned while driving. The display is illuminated and easily visible

Physical and Biological Factors

Weight and Body Composition: Your weight and body composition significantly influence your caloric burn rate. The heavier you are and the more muscle mass you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate will be, meaning you will burn more calories during sedentary activities like driving.

  • Age: Your metabolism typically slows down as you age, reducing the calories you burn at rest and while driving.
  • Gender: Men usually have a higher percentage of muscle mass than women, which means they may burn more calories for the same time spent driving.
  • Daily Calorie Needs and Physical Activity: Your overall health, diet, and lifestyle outside of driving can affect how many calories you burn. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you might find that your body burns fewer calories during rest or low activity.

Driving Conditions and Habits

Manual vs. Automatic Transmission: If you’re driving a manual transmission, you’re likely to burn more calories due to the physical effort required to operate the clutch and gear stick.

  • Type of Driving: Stop-and-go city driving can burn more calories because of the frequent braking and accelerating, compared to steady-speed highway cruising.
  • Time Spent Driving: Naturally, the longer you spend driving, the more calories you’ll burn overall. It’s a cumulative effect—every extra minute adds up!
  • Temperature and Comfort: If the environment inside your car is less than comfortable, like a hot temperature without air conditioning, you might burn more calories as your body works to regulate your internal temperature.

Improving Health and Calorie Burn

A person drives a car on a scenic road, surrounded by greenery and clear blue skies. The car's dashboard displays the distance traveled and calories burned

Alternative Activities to Driving

  • Walking or Cycling: Swap out short car trips with walking or cycling. These moderate exercises burn significantly more calories and bolster cardiovascular health.

    • Walking:
      • Light effort (2.0-2.9 MPH, <3.0 METs): A great starting point for beginners.
      • Moderate effort (3.0-4.5 MPH, 3.0-6.0 METs): Increases fitness levels and burns more calories.
    • Cycling:
      • Light to moderate effort (10-12 MPH, 4.0-5.9 METs): A fun way to improve your health and enjoy the outdoors.
  • Standing More: Consider standing at work or during other activities like reading or waiting. Standing burns more calories than sitting and can lead to weight loss over time.

Lifestyle Changes and Weight Management

  • Diet Adjustments: Focus on nutrient-rich foods that are low in calories but high in volume to help you feel full longer. Consistent, healthy eating habits support sustained weight loss.
  • Incorporating Mini-Workouts: Find opportunities to include brief bouts of exercise throughout your day. Stretching, desk exercises, or washing dishes can increase calorie burn.


How many calories do you burn driving a car?

You burn about 150-250 calories per hour driving a car, depending on your body weight and the intensity of the driving conditions.

Do you burn fat while driving?

Fat is burned during any activity, including driving, as part of your body’s natural energy expenditure, although it’s minimal.

Can you burn calories riding in a car?

Yes, you burn a small number of calories while riding in a car, roughly 80-130 calories per hour as a passenger.

How can I burn calories while driving?

To burn calories while driving, engage in activities like tightening your abdominal muscles, performing seat exercises, or simply staying mindful of your posture.

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