As a retailer, our employees commute to our stores, distribution centers and headquarters in order to serve our customers and support one another. Depending on an employee's scope of work, location and schedule, we have created programs that help diminish the environmental impacts of commuting, such as GHG emissions.
REI has long provided incentives to help our employees reduce the environmental impacts of commuting, such as a 50 percent transit subsidy. Employees that take advantage of our public transportation subsidy can pay for their share with pre-tax dollars from their regular compensation. Additionally, almost every REI location features employee bike storage and showers.
We experienced an 11.3 percent increase in employee commuting GHG impacts totaling 17,193 tons of CO2e, up from 15,450 tons in 2009. This growth is primarily contributed to hiring more employees. Through an annual commuting survey and monitoring vanpools to our headquarters, we learned of a slight decrease in employee alternative commuting behaviors. There are a number of factors contributing to this trend, among which include reasonably affordable gas prices.
As we research new locations for stores, alternative commuting infrastructure options are considered on behalf of employees that will be hired at those locations. Because many employees choose to bike instead of drive their single occupancy vehicles, bike racks are standard store features provided as a resource to our employees and to help decrease our climate impact.
REI's Customized Work Environment (CWE) program remains active at our headquarters, and many divisions encourage their employees to be active participants. This program includes options for telecommuting, flextime and a compressed work week for employees whose jobs allow for this level of flexibility.
We will continue to offer shared hybrid vehicles at our headquarters to serve as a resource to employees for their business and personal errands during the workday.
As gas prices have started to increase, we expect employees to remind themselves of the costs savings of alternative commuting. Our analysis shows that a $1 increase in the cost of gas per gallon results in REI employees collectively spending $2 million more annually on buying fuel to commute to work.
Across the company, we will continue to address barriers to alternative commuting at all locations. These barriers include education and support of infrastructure improvement projects.