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  1. #26
    ride for a change modernjess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mnaines View Post
    I would like to get an idea of the cost comparisons between commuting by automobile vs commuting by bicycle before I make my decision to become a bicycle commuter.
    Guess what? It costs a lot less over time, but....

    IMHO IF saving money is your sole motivation, and a cost comparison is your basis for the decision to bike commute or not, THEN you will never see any of that financial benefit because it is highly unlikely that you will stick with it. I've seen it happen over and over.

    In the long run you need a bunch more motivation, the resulting cost savings is nice fringe benefit.

  2. #27
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    Bike commuting is actually a money looser for me. My house and work are walking distance to a train that my employer pays for. I ride mainly because I like to.

  3. #28
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    I save about 9k a year by not having a car

  4. #29
    1. get on 2. pedal
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    I just read that the average car right now costs 51 cents a mile to operate including purchase price, financing, gas, maintenance, etc. So I figure I'm being paid that to start with for every mile I travel with my engine instead of the car's; right there I'm up at least 100 a month. Then about 35 in parking. I killed the health club membership because bicycling brought me down to my target weight and shape - 19 bucks a month off. That's more than 150 a month hardly thinking about it. By that yardstick I'm a couple of months away from paying for the new Surly plus accessories. Then it's going to be mostly gravy for a long time.

    And that's not even counting the fact that it's free fun and entertainment. When I used to get bored I'd automatically spend money to amuse myself. Sometimes I still do but lots of the time I just hop on the bike and I'm happy. That's why I think it's hard to overspend on a bike. I like steel and singlespeed and simplicity so I wasn't inclined to spend lots anyway. But even at several grand the bike would pay for itself years under its lifespan, and I'd have spent that money if that's what it took to make me love getting on the bike.

    (Then there's that Pugsley I'm dreaming about...)

  5. #30
    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ctwxlvr View Post
    I save about 9k a year by not having a car
    What, a Ferrari or something?
    --
    -=- '05 Jamis Nova -=- '04 Fuji Absolute -=- '94 Trek 820 -=- '77 Schwinn Scrambler 36/36 -=-
    Friends don't let friends use brifters.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkrownd View Post
    What, a Ferrari or something?
    He saves $750/month from not having a car, so if you count in the car payment, insurance, gas, maintenance, and whatever else goes into keeping the car running its just your typical mid-size car.
    Bicycles - America's cheapest and cleanest form of transportation. Do Gaia a favor and ride a bicycle. Bicycles use no gas at all, so do America a favor and reduce your reliance on gasoline - Ride a bicycle. Bicycles are a good form of exercise. Help eliminate the obesity epidemic - ride a bicycle.

    2007 Diamondback Wildwood Citi

  7. #32
    What is this demonry?! Szczuldo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ctwxlvr View Post
    I save about 9k a year by not having a car
    what kind of a car do you own? my god...my car costs about the same as my bike to maintain per year. I go through 2 chains a year on my bike (I commute and rec ride/race on the same bike, and since I get to keep my bike inside at my destination it does not bother me) which is about 60$ + any other replacements and usually ends up being around 100$, my car is about the same after oil changes and the couple of times I have to fill up.

  8. #33
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    The answer to all complex questions is always the same: "It depends".

    It depends on how far it is to work, how you are paid/employed, what your alternate transportation would be, what your alternate exercise (if any) would be, what you eat, what you wear at work, how dangerous the roads are, whether you are likely to move in the near future, whether you work at more than one location, whether you work shifts, whether there is a lot of bike theft in your area, and a million other factors.

    You save/gain the most money if riding doesn't cut into your income (for example if you are self-employed and live far from work, driving may be a better option), if bike commuting allows you to own one less car, and if you cancel a gym membership because riding replaces that exercise. You probably can save $2000-5000/year. $9000 sounds unlikely.
    Last edited by cooker; 09-11-08 at 12:33 PM.

  9. #34
    Blasted Weeds Tude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyPete View Post
    None, I spend my gas money on all the fancy accessories, food and new bikes. But I feel better.
    Ditto!!! And I have more people asking me this too. More bikes!

    Had a newspaper reported sent in my - and another commuter at work- direction to get some info for an upcoming piece on commuting. I've been car-free for >10 years - and the other woman at work is trying to be car-free. So preparing to answer questions about commuting - we contacted this reporter.

    His questions were basically pointed at "are you commuting due to the cost of gas". And when we both answered "no" - he basically lost interest - and sure enough the article was all about how more people are commuting due to the high gas prices.

    There's other reasons ya know!

  10. #35
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodeo View Post
    Bike commuting is actually a money looser for me. My house and work are walking distance to a train that my employer pays for. I ride mainly because I like to.
    Can you write to the employer asking for a bike subsidy comparable to the train subsidy other employees receive? Otherwise, isn't it discrimination?

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirGrant View Post
    It really depends if you don't own a car or if you do own one. If you don't own one at all you save a TON because you don't have to pay for insurance/car payments/maitnance. If you do own one but you ride to work you pretty much only save on gas because you still have to insure your car and maintain it.
    If you don't drive your car to work, make sure you tell your auto insurance. Depending on where you are, and your insurance company, it's quite possible you'll save some money. And it costs more than just gas to drive a car. Many maintenance costs are mileage driven. Your tires dont' wear out sitting in the garge, nor does the timing belt wear, nor the brakes wear out, etc.

  12. #37
    Senior Member Pig_Chaser's Avatar
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    It's hard to say how much i've saved this year. Based on the old estimates of how much it used to cost to drive to work it would be $664. However, i don't know my fuel economy and was going purely by cost per week which is based on old numbers before the price spikes in the summer. I'm certainly in the black this year because i haven't had to buy anything for the bike but overall it's probably getting pretty close to breaking even.

  13. #38
    Reeks of aged cotton duck Hydrated's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DallasSoxFan View Post
    My biggest savings comes from brown-bagging it at lunch. Not as easy to go out and plop down good money for oversized meals at restaurants when you don't have a car.
    +1

    I save about $150-$175/month in gas that I don't buy... but most of my savings come from not buying overpriced lunches. I didn't really realize it until I stopped eating lunch out, but I was spending upwards of $250/month on lunches and junk snacks! And I eat a LOT healthier now too.
    "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." George Orwell

  14. #39
    Mister Bleak! mconlonx's Avatar
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    If we take the tandem in, we save $5-6/day in gas.

    If I ride but my wife drives in, the gas savings evaporates.

    But I did sell my car, so we save about $50/mo on insurance, plus an average of another $50/mo in maintenance--car was old and needing fairly regular attention/maintenance/repair, but paid off. No gas savings, though, since we work in the same building and usually drive in together on those days when neither of us bike.

    We cancelled $30/mo worth of fitness center that we weren't using.

    On the other side of the balance sheet, we've upgraded her ergos on the tandem, gone through a bunch of tubes, a set of new tires, panniers, etc. Plus, I bought a motorcycle, although maintenance and insurance on it are negligible compared to the car, gas likewise--it sees little use since we started commuting in together and especially bike commuting, either tandem or solo.

    Bottom line: if bike commuting allows you to live car-free, you will see tremendous savings. If you are also maintaining ownership of a car--registration, tax, car payment, maintenance, gas, possibly parking rent/permit, you might break even with gas savings v. bike maintenance.

    It's the other intangibles that make up the difference in the case of also owning a car: environmental benefits, being able to travel faster that auto traffic in urban conditions, physical excercise, sheer fun of riding. Hard to put a value on these, but since there's no real monetary savings if you are not going car free, it makes all the difference.

  15. #40
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    420 parking a year
    2340 gas a year
    5220 insurance a year (required by finance company 0 deductible)
    320 maintenance
    482 taxes

  16. #41
    Live without dead time
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    I don't buy a transit pass so I don't spend 109 dollars every month.

    I spent 750 dollars on a bike last month, so I don't think I'm really saving anything.

    My quality of life has gone up tremendously though

  17. #42
    Senior Member sharkey00's Avatar
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    The answers on this tend to range from 0 dollar savings to negative savings if you still own a car. It is typically 3-6 thousand a year if you get rid of the car or go car lite. I am in the latter category.

    One thing I have noticed is few people include the cost of the car/depreciation in their saving calculation. For example 20,000 dollar car over 5 years ( the average most people keep cars) and to be generous lets say you sold it for 10,000. That is 2,000 dollars per year added to the car's cost.

  18. #43
    What is this demonry?! Szczuldo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharkey00 View Post
    One thing I have noticed is few people include the cost of the car/depreciation in their saving calculation. For example 20,000 dollar car over 5 years ( the average most people keep cars) and to be generous lets say you sold it for 10,000. That is 2,000 dollars per year added to the car's cost.
    Since no one counts that and after 5 years chances are the car has been very useful i'd say it really doesn't matter. Maybe you should also take into account the depreciation of your bike, and the cost of food oh and you can't forget that your house is also gaining value every year either. Just make an entire table of what you spend your money on, then do the same for next year but drive a car to work.

    Saving money isn't the point of commuting, and if you make that your point you are going to have a crappy time.

  19. #44
    calirado native luribe's Avatar
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    howdy;
    funny you should ask. we just did our month end last night. i've been riding 200km/wk for 5 months. i've saved an average of $125/mo. in fuel and parking. i've also lost 7kg, fit into college clothes (i graduated in '86), got asked out on a date by the 30ish gal at virgin recs and my kids brag to their friends that dad cycles all the way downtown -- how much would you pay for that? dude, it's totally worth it!

    while you have to take into account the $$$ especially if you are managing a family budget there are many intangibles that work into the equation. btw, the choice of what to take into consideration when figuring out cost is a complex one and comes down to personal/institutional choice. sometimes your told how far to go (think irs and taxes) but most of the time it's your choice. but remember it's never, ever, ever complete; you can drill down in cost accounting forever and ever. you can go down as far as the societal cost of servicing and disposing of the item or service, 100 years down the road. i've had the misfortune having to work with these figures and this depth of cost accounting. just take into account what YOU are comfortable with.
    Last edited by luribe; 09-11-08 at 01:53 PM.

  20. #45
    commuting Canuck habernac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikinpolitico View Post
    Around $4-$5K/year even with buying the extra bike stuff. We moved to being a one car family and now we don't pay gas or insurance on a second car and all that money is no longer tied up in a depreciating asset.
    Same here. Parking is $100 per month. Transit is $5 a day, gasoline would be $35 a week.....

    $1200+1200+1680= $4080 and that's not including vehicle depreciation, etc...

    well, around $3000 as I wouldn't be on the bus and driving to work at the same time....oops

  21. #46
    Senior Member
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    Cost of the joy and adventure of commuting by bicycle: Priceless (Pun on the Mastercard commercials).

    Commuting by bicycle is all about the fun and adventure. You get the bonus of money savings, exercise, and conservation in exchange for your adventure by bicycle, and unlike cars, racing bicycles on the street (a closed section of street or a professional event) is legal and adds to the fun and benefits.
    Bicycles - America's cheapest and cleanest form of transportation. Do Gaia a favor and ride a bicycle. Bicycles use no gas at all, so do America a favor and reduce your reliance on gasoline - Ride a bicycle. Bicycles are a good form of exercise. Help eliminate the obesity epidemic - ride a bicycle.

    2007 Diamondback Wildwood Citi

  22. #47
    peaced out deez's Avatar
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    A bunch of Sanity and probably 30 bux in gas a week. SO around $1500 a year plus reduced maintenance costs since I put around half as many miles on the car now.

    Of course I've bought $750 worth of bikes (3 bikes) and another 3-400 on parts accessories and paint job for one of these bikes

    The Way I see it I've only been commuting since mid-april and commuting got me back into cycling after years of none and of desperately needing a new bike...so I see my bike-related purchases tapering off now that i've got a good many of the related things I want.

    ...we'll see how that prediction goes

  23. #48
    Senior Member
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    The good thing about bicycles is, even though they depreciate in value like cars, they generally have an equally-long lifespan, are more fun, pay for themselves well before their usefulness expires, are much cheaper to operate, and can be modified without destroying their roadworthiness, their durability, or their lifespan, and you can sometimes even extend the bicycle's lifespan with the right modifications.
    Bicycles - America's cheapest and cleanest form of transportation. Do Gaia a favor and ride a bicycle. Bicycles use no gas at all, so do America a favor and reduce your reliance on gasoline - Ride a bicycle. Bicycles are a good form of exercise. Help eliminate the obesity epidemic - ride a bicycle.

    2007 Diamondback Wildwood Citi

  24. #49
    Senior Member
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    This is might have been said but I didn't catch it...besides the gas and car sh*t, if you go car-free you save money everywhere. how many times were you driving and you purchased something on impulse? I always did, now that I have been car-free for awhile, my money goes to food and living expenses (including bike maintenance). No more frivolous spending, if something is needed then buy it, everything else becomes well a waste of money. you eat better, you sleep better, you feel better and you can kinda gloat that in this autocentric society you manage to get around hassle-free.
    Hills? What hills? I haven't noticed any...

  25. #50
    Hey let's ride. pathdoc's Avatar
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    I tend to buy alot of bike related gear so I don't think I'm saving too much money.

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