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 (www.bicyclingforlouisville.org). This was in response to adds circulating from State Farm (see here at http://www.streetsblog.org/2008/04/03/ad-nauseam-state-farm-and-the- 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.