Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 21 of 21
  1. #1
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    2,206
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    A financial incentive for going car-free or car-light

    I've known I was saving money by driving as little as possible, but I didn't realize how much.

    Gasoline here is $1.13 a litre as of today. A 50 litre fill costs $56.50. Filling the car once a week for a year will cost $2,938. That's just the fuel cost. It doesn't include maintenance, repairs or regular servicing.

    Going car-light and filling up once a month costs $678 a year, again not including maintenance, repairs or servicing. The difference in fuel costs alone will come to $$2,260 a year.

    Even if I lived in Vancouver and needed the most expensive transit pass in the area, I'd still walk away with money in my pocket by going car-light.

    I might have to use my calculations the next time starts to whine about fuel costs.
    Life is good.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Cowtown Cumuter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
    My Bikes
    1982 Norco Pinnacle
    Posts
    85
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Yes I go car or in my case pickup truck light...I love my truck and use it for its intended purpose (hauling) but most days I go to work on my bike. The truck gets used only in the worse of weather where it is dangerous to ride a bike because cars can slide into me...or to haul stuff to the dump, do heavy landscaping, haul my families bikes around or the groceries home on up the the Rockies skiing in the winter. I figure I save at least $100- $150 per month on fuel, not including wear and tear as well as the stress of driving in traffic.
    Last edited by Cowtown Cumuter; 08-31-07 at 10:50 PM. Reason: mistake

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Posts
    149
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If you are car-lite, call up your insurance agent and tell them you do not drive it frequently. I do not remember the threshold, but I believe you can save a substantial amount on premiums if you drive say less than 4000 miles/year.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Nachoman's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Point Loma, CA
    My Bikes
    Bill Holland (Road-Ti), Bike Friday (folder), Co-Motion (tandem) & Trek 750 (hybrid)
    Posts
    12,541
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I go car light. But I live only 6 miles from where I work. So economically it's not much of a difference, especially if I bike to work only 3 of the five days per week. Assuming my car gets about 18 miles per gallon and I drive 36 miles per week less, I save about two gallons per week (about $4.00). Over a period of a year that's a savings of about $200.00.
    .
    .

    Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    2,206
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I understand what you're saying, Nachoman. I live 1.5 km or just under one mile from work. I'll save some fuel, but not a lot, because I commute by bike. But my savings are quite a bit more substantial. I use the bike as my primary source of transportation so instead of taking the car to the grocery store, the library, church and various appointments, I'm cycling. None of my in-town trips are all that long and the gas savings on any one of them would seem pitifully small. But added up, I'm saving quite a bit of money, I'm keeping fit and I'm enjoying the rides.

    And saving $200 a year is quite good. Put that money into mutual funds or term deposits and watch your finances grow.
    Life is good.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Cowtown Cumuter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
    My Bikes
    1982 Norco Pinnacle
    Posts
    85
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    not much savings but...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nachoman View Post
    I go car light. But I live only 6 miles from where I work. So economically it's not much of a difference, especially if I bike to work only 3 of the five days per week. Assuming my car gets about 18 miles per gallon and I drive 36 miles per week less, I save about two gallons per week (about $4.00). Over a period of a year that's a savings of about $200.00.

    Okay perhaps the savings isn't much right now because gas is still not totally out of control where it costs $300 to fill a vehicle (I think those days are coming soon). But think of the health benefits you are gaining. Huge health benefits.

  7. #7
    Utility Cyclist Ian Freeman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    My Bikes
    2007 Trek Calypso Cruiser, Surly Cross-Check
    Posts
    33
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Being car-free is how I'm going to keep my budget a little more open when I move. People like to think about fuel cost savings when they commute or run errands by bike, but they still write their check for car insurance every month regardless of whether the vehicle is just sitting in the garage. Simply the cost of having a car functional and available, should you choose to use it, is a lot of money every year. Depending on the fuel efficiency of your current automobile, how often you use it, and how far you drive, thousands of dollars can be saved every year by deciding to ditch it completely and let your breakfast give you 30 m.p.g.
    "All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost." -J.R.R. Tolkein

  8. #8
    MattFashion
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    lancaster, pa
    My Bikes
    70's le Tour with brazed track drops
    Posts
    173
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    i gave up my car a year ago to go fixie only in my city.
    gas here is roughly $3.00 a gallon.
    my honda had a twelve gallon tank and got 40mpg.
    thats 36.00 a fill. one fill a week.
    1728 a year in gas
    3600 a year in insurance (300 p/month)
    350 a year in tires
    75 a year in parking permits
    300 in oil changes (50 per change, every other month
    total of $6053.00 PER YEAR
    ASSUMING YOU NEVER BREAK DOWN!!!!!

    i sold my car for 3500.00.
    i built my fixed gear for a hair under $350.0


    go back to a car????? rightt..........

  9. #9
    Senior Member FXjohn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    NE Indiana
    Posts
    12,586
    Mentioned
    12 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by MattFashion View Post
    i gave up my car a year ago to go fixie only in my city.
    gears are scary

  10. #10
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    2,206
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Congratulations on going car-free, MattFashion. At $3,600, your insurance rates are a lot higher than mine. That cost alone would provide a strong incentive for ditching the car.

    I'm a little curious about the logistics of going car-free for you since you're in a rural area. Do you have an inter-community transit in place as a backup if you need to get to a neighbouring community or is everything you need available where you live?
    Life is good.

  11. #11
    bragi bragi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    seattle, WA
    My Bikes
    LHT
    Posts
    2,783
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Car lite is a very good thing financially, but, as has been mentioned, it's the non-fuel costs of having a car that drag one down. When I had a car, my monthly expenses were:

    fuel: US $120 (I quit driving when gas cost $2.50/gallon)
    Car payment: $150.00
    Insurance: $75.00
    maintenance: roughly $30.00 (assuming no major repairs)
    Registration/taxes: $10.00
    Parking: $20.00

    Total monthly expense to own a car: $405.00
    Yearly expense: $4860.00

    I don't know about you, but for me, that's a lot of money....

    (I'd like to say that I've used these savings to put more money into my IRA, but, in all honesty, I used the extra money to buy and maintain a sail boat )
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  12. #12
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    5,165
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I just wish I could go car-free but due to my location I can not.

    It's really hard to go car-free when you live in a rural county that
    has NO public transportation nor do you have a way to share a ride
    or rent a car when needed. Rural living for the aged is not great
    at times.

    I'm on a pension income and dollars that I have to tie up in a car
    would be very welcome for other uses I can assure you all !! But,
    alas, I must keep a car. Damn!!!!
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

    Originally Posted by krazygluon
    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

  13. #13
    Change=inevitable. ?=+/- JosephPaul86's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Sugar Land, TX
    My Bikes
    MTB, 700c commuter, BMX
    Posts
    295
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Here are my projected savings annually from ridding my life of a 2002 F150 and riding to work and college.

    Insurance------------------$2300 yr/full coverage
    Gas------------------------$2400 yr@3 tanks per month
    Maintenance(self done)------$500 yr(tires, brakes, repairs, being very conservative)
    Gym membership-------------$400 yr
    Tickets----------------------$300 yr(underestimate )
    Inspection/Emissions----------$45 yr
    Registration-------------------$80 yr
    ----------------------------------------------------
    total saved-------------------$6025


    Note: This was after I paid off the truck. I canceled the membership since I am losing weight commuting. I don't eat junk food anymore since its not convenient and mainly, I have saved myself time. I don't have to wrench under my truck in the rain/Tx heat or get too greasy. I can now sit in air conditioning tuning/lubing the bike.

    I love it too much.

  14. #14
    Roadmaster Snobbery Club bhtooefr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Newark, Ohio
    My Bikes
    2002 Dahon Boardwalk 1, 2011 TerraTrike Path 8
    Posts
    753
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    My current costs:

    Insurance: $1320/yr minimum coverage, and that's going up after an accident on Wednesday
    Fuel: Between $160 and $220/mo - call it $2100/yr, and that's low.
    Maintenance: Don't ask.

    After going car-lite... I'm not sure how far the insurance will go down, if any, but the fuel costs will go down to about $20/mo (taking two months to go through a tank of fuel, instead of 5-7 days ,) for a total of $240/yr. Maintenance will go down, too. However, living expenses will go up a LOT - $300/mo rent and ~$200/mo utilities, up from $100/mo rent at home. (Income's going up a lot, too, to support this, though. )
    2011 TerraTrike Path 8
    2002 Dahon Boardwalk 1 (with 1976 F&S R 2110 2-speed kickback hub)

  15. #15
    Senior Member Nachoman's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Point Loma, CA
    My Bikes
    Bill Holland (Road-Ti), Bike Friday (folder), Co-Motion (tandem) & Trek 750 (hybrid)
    Posts
    12,541
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by bragi View Post
    Car lite is a very good thing financially, but, as has been mentioned, it's the non-fuel costs of having a car that drag one down. When I had a car, my monthly expenses were:

    fuel: US $120 (I quit driving when gas cost $2.50/gallon)
    Car payment: $150.00
    Insurance: $75.00
    maintenance: roughly $30.00 (assuming no major repairs)
    Registration/taxes: $10.00
    Parking: $20.00

    Total monthly expense to own a car: $405.00
    Yearly expense: $4860.00

    I don't know about you, but for me, that's a lot of money....

    (I'd like to say that I've used these savings to put more money into my IRA, but, in all honesty, I used the extra money to buy and maintain a sail boat )


    Very true. But only if you go car free, as opposed to car light. As referenced above, I commute by bicycle three of five days per week. But I still have to pay full auto insurance, full taxes, and a full monthly parking pass. But as others have pointed out, I get many other benefits, tangible and intangible.
    .
    .

    Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.

  16. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    74
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Being car-light also has advantages to the car. I would assume many car-light bike trips would replace short distance car trips. During short car trips a car uses more gas, pollutes more, and has more engine ware per mile then on longer trips.

  17. #17
    bragi bragi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    seattle, WA
    My Bikes
    LHT
    Posts
    2,783
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Tightwad View Post
    I just wish I could go car-free but due to my location I can not.

    It's really hard to go car-free when you live in a rural county that
    has NO public transportation nor do you have a way to share a ride
    or rent a car when needed. Rural living for the aged is not great
    at times.

    I'm on a pension income and dollars that I have to tie up in a car
    would be very welcome for other uses I can assure you all !! But,
    alas, I must keep a car. Damn!!!!
    I totally agree that, in rural areas, cars are a lot more necessary than in larger cities. Which presents people on a fixed income with an interesting dilemma: You can live in the country, where it's less expensive, and then have to carry the expense of a car, or live in the city, where it's pricey, but not necessary to have a car at all. I guess it all depends on what you want, and how much car you think you need, if you end up living in the sticks. Personally, if I were retired, I'd live in a modest condo in an interesting urban area and get a cheap bus pass, but that's just me.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  18. #18
    bragi bragi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    seattle, WA
    My Bikes
    LHT
    Posts
    2,783
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Nachoman View Post
    Very true. But only if you go car free, as opposed to car light. As referenced above, I commute by bicycle three of five days per week. But I still have to pay full auto insurance, full taxes, and a full monthly parking pass. But as others have pointed out, I get many other benefits, tangible and intangible.
    That's what I was trying to say (I guess I was unclear); the fuel costs, while significant, aren't the bulk of the cost of car ownership. It's owning the car itself that costs a lot. If you absolutely need a car sometimes, maybe it would be more cost-effective to ditch the car you have now, and sign up for Flexcar or some other car-sharing service.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    2,206
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by bragi View Post
    I totally agree that, in rural areas, cars are a lot more necessary than in larger cities. Which presents people on a fixed income with an interesting dilemma: You can live in the country, where it's less expensive, and then have to carry the expense of a car, or live in the city, where it's pricey, but not necessary to have a car at all. I guess it all depends on what you want, and how much car you think you need, if you end up living in the sticks. Personally, if I were retired, I'd live in a modest condo in an interesting urban area and get a cheap bus pass, but that's just me.
    In North America and possibly in other places as well, a completely car-free lifestyle is only practical in larger urban areas. Services are nearby and transportation alternatives are in place. In some larger cities, a car can become a needless hassle.

    In small communities, especially those far from neighbouring centres and without practical tranportation alternatives, car-free doesn't work all that well and it won't until good transportation alternatives become available. I don't foresee that happening any time soon.
    Life is good.

  20. #20
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    5,165
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Newspaperguy View Post
    In North America and possibly in other places as well, a completely car-free lifestyle is only practical in larger urban areas. Services are nearby and transportation alternatives are in place. In some larger cities, a car can become a needless hassle.

    In small communities, especially those far from neighbouring centres and without practical tranportation alternatives, car-free doesn't work all that well and it won't until good transportation alternatives become available. I don't foresee that happening any time soon.

    In the rural area where I live we used to have rail access to the nearest city on a "day shopper"
    time table i.e. leave in the morning, shop and return at dusk, for a very low fee. That stopped with
    death of local passenger rail and growth of the two car family.
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

    Originally Posted by krazygluon
    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

  21. #21
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    New York, NY
    My Bikes
    Still researching
    Posts
    531
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by bragi View Post
    Car lite is a very good thing financially, but, as has been mentioned, it's the non-fuel costs of having a car that drag one down. When I had a car, my monthly expenses were:

    fuel: US $120 (I quit driving when gas cost $2.50/gallon)
    Car payment: $150.00
    Insurance: $75.00
    maintenance: roughly $30.00 (assuming no major repairs)
    Registration/taxes: $10.00
    Parking: $20.00

    Total monthly expense to own a car: $405.00
    Yearly expense: $4860.00

    I don't know about you, but for me, that's a lot of money....
    Unfortunately this is the big flaw with living 'car lite'. The variable costs of driving are can be lower than the variable costs of mass transit.

    e.g. The mass transit costs to commute from Manhattan to Stamford, CT (a common 'reverse commute') are $339 (assuming you need a subway pass). The cost in gas an tolls if you drive is about $200-$250. Unless you live near Grand Central Station and work next to the Stamford Railroad station (in which case you would only be spending $264), driving is also quicker.

    You don't really start to save money until the car goes. There are some tax incentives to encourage the use of mass transit but the tax incentives to drive are much more generous.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •