Crunching the Numbers ($$$) on Bike Commuting

"I knew I was benefiting myself and the environment by commuting without a car, but to see the real impact is very amazing."
If you want to get around faster than your feet can take you while doing as little harm as possible, the bicycle is your best option. An unnamed author has recently started documenting his experience with becoming a bicycle commuter, and the results are interesting (and hopefully encouraging enough that others will do the same!). In a recent post, he does a little math to see how much money his new green commuting habits are saving him (without forgetting all the non-monetary benefits).His whole post is worth reading (especially if you've never seen the math done on commuting by bike vs by car), but here are some highlights:

In two months I have had the following impact:

  • I’ve saved $47 in gasoline expenses and the equivalent of $457 in fixed costs for a total savings of $471.49 when accounting for bus costs.

  • Burned 22,356 calories which if I had been eating a normal diet is the equivalent of 6.4 pounds of fat!

  • I have kept 543 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere (19.546 lbs per gallon and my car gets an average of 21 MPG).

Simply multiplying these numbers for the year would equal 3260 pounds of CO2 kept out of the atmosphere, $2542 dollars saved, 134,000 calories burned, and 38.3 pounds of fat. If I had a car loan payment for a $20,000 [car] the savings jumps to $7900!

That's definitely very important, especially in these difficult economic times. Not everybody can commute by bicycle or public transit, but there's a gigantic gap between the number of those who could and those who do. Sure infrastructure needs improvements in lots of places, but I suspect that many never even gave cycling or taking transit a try simply because it's not part of the culture of many places, especially in the US.

The best paragraph, IMO, in CarFree's post is this one:

I knew I was benefiting myself and the environment by commuting without a car, but to see the real impact is very amazing. These numbers don't take into account the savings because of improved emotional and physical well being I am getting because of the exercise. They also don't take into account the benefit to my community from interacting with my neighbors and fellow commuters. These numbers don't measure the impact of the 40,000 people every year who's lives are cut short because of car crashes. These are dry,raw, facts, and figures, but if you consider how these facts scale year over year for an individual, or scale for the United State, if just 5% of the people who commute by car switched to walking, bicycling, or public transit, the numbers would be astounding.

Absolutely! Keep testifying, brother.

More on Green Transportation
Being a Cyclist in Iceland: Interview with Morten Lange, head of the Icelandic Cyclists' Federation
Velo-City Global 2010: Cycling Experts From Around the World Will Meet in Copenhagen
Autocentric Development was a Mistake, Let's Fix It (Video)

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