Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Bike Girl Saves A Nickel

In an effort to justify her cycling habit, Bike Girl put on her sexy nerd-glasses to do some commuter math. She wanted to find out if her commute actually saves her any money, or if it's simply an indulgence that allows her to feel smug with her bicycle resting against the wall of her cubicle.

Bike Girl bit on the end of a pencil eraser and scratched out some FORMULAS.

Miles driven divided by MPG = gallons used.
8.6/30 = .29

Gallons used multiplied by price per gallon = total price spent for miles driven.
.29 * $4.55 = $1.30

Since Bike Girl sometimes takes the Metro one way to avoid getting extremely sweaty before work, she subtracts the cost of the ticket from her gas savings.
$1.30 - $1.25 = $ .05

Bike Girl's daily commute saves her 5 cents on gas. If she commutes at least three days a week via bicycle for 50 weeks a year, her savings will add up to $7.50 a year.

Such a small number surprised Bike Girl. So she has decided to focus on other advantages to bike commuting. She has decided it is still worth it!


SoapBoxLA said...

Don't forget the "other" significant costs associated with automobile commuting.

The vehicle, insurance, registration and maintenance.

The real estate including the significant strain on our worn out and tired streets, the parking requirements and the allocation of space for support services such a fueling stations etc.

The significant and hard to measure cost incurred as our air is polluted, our health is compromised and our communities are further fragmented by wider streets and faster traffic.

You're doing much better than a nickel!

See you on the Streets!

Alex Thompson said...

This post made me fall off my chair laughing. LULZ!

SRSLY though, I tend to avoid the constant promotion of cycling as a way to save gas. Two reasons:

1) The calculation above. Even without deducting the expenses of cycling you're not saving tha much on gas. Add in insurance and cost of car and you're doing ok, but it's still not gargantuan.

2) It's cliche and bad strategy. What happens if there is a recession, or momentary down turn in fuel prices? Everyone will be like "here comes $1 gas again, screw bikes!" There's more to the advantages of biking than just economic savings, and I think it's good to emphasize those.

Good post.