Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Paradigm Change is Needed

This was a post on Thunderhead's listserve. I thought it was worth sharing with the rest of the group. It was posted by Barry Zalph who is the Executive Director of Bicycling for Loiusville ( This was in response to adds circulating from State Farm (see here at humiliation-of-biking-to-work/ ).

"This is a great opportunity for us to pull back the curtain on the costs of driving. Based on the AAA's 2007 calculation, driving costs over $0.52 per mile for the typical US car owner. See:
For someone driving 15,000 miles per year (AAA's "typical" figure), this comes to over $7800 per year. If the poor sap in the State Farm ad really can save $369 on insurance this year, that amounts to less than 5% of his annual driving costs - probably not enough to influence his car- versus-bike decision.

Also, let's do the math on fuel costs. 15,000 miles per year divided by 25 mpg = 600 gallons per year.
At $2/gallon, this costs $1200/year.
At $3/gallon, this costs $1800/year.
At $4/gallon, this costs $2400/year.

In other words, a $1/gallon increase in gasoline prices results in a $600/$7800 = 8% increase in the cost of driving. Even adjusting this upward to account for the effect of rising oil prices on motor vehicle purchase, repair, and insurance costs, we see perhaps a 10% increase in driving costs for each $1/gallon increase in gasoline price.

Bottom line: Driving is expensive regardless of gasoline prices! The viability of bicycling as a mode of transportation has nothing to do with gasoline prices!

One final point: Going from inadequate daily physical activity to 50 miles/week of bicycling will, for many Americans, save nearly as much money on annual average health care costs as reducing gasoline use from 600 gallons/year to zero!

Now, let's get out there and spread the gospel! "

While your own mileage may be less then the "typical" average it's worth considering "ALL" the costs.

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