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  1. #1
    Stealing Spokes since 82' Fizzaly's Avatar
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    How much i save a month by being car free

    The recent thread on gas prices this holiday season got me to thinking, ive never really paid attention to how much i save a month by not having a car. I didn't become car free to save money at first it was from a license suspension but now im just so used to it i prefer it. Well i did some figures and this number is based on me buy a reasonable priced car with a loan, also i have a horrid driving record so that kinda inflates my number but i on average save 480.00 a month i know i never realized it but i guess it all adds up car payment ins. maintenance, gas, etc. Im now even more happy with being car free

    EDIT I added maintenance in on yearly based on the mileage i currently ride then divided, using dealer recommended sched.

  2. #2
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    If you use the figures accepted by the IRS, AAA and other car organizations ($0.50 - 0.75 per mile), the average American would save $500 to $750 every month. Of course they also have to add back the expenses for whatever transportation they use instead of the car.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  3. #3
    Stealing Spokes since 82' Fizzaly's Avatar
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    Yeah the 480 or so a month is before the stupid amounts i spend on bikes, can never have too many bikes though

  4. #4
    Surf Bum
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    Unless one gets to commute on terrain he enjoys and would be riding on anyway, I don't think the financial angle is a great one. 'Cause as they say, time is money.

    Let's see...I save at least 500 hours a year driving a car to work versus riding my bike (on roads I wouldn't much enjoy riding on, especially at 5am when I go to work). Cost of used car (depreciates about $1k/year), insurance ($600k/year), fuel($1000!), and maintenance ($400) is about $3000/year. Hmm...500 hours of free time for $3000? I'd make that purchase every time! Even if I just went and spend that 500 hours riding my bike anyway, but on roads/trails I enjoy more than my commuting route, ha!
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  5. #5
    Senior Member mustang1's Avatar
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    My two transport modes are either bike or train. Using the train is free for me so using the bike will always cost money. If I were to travel on the train, I'd save 90 hours per year. But it's not only saving 90h pa, but the other things I can do on the train like:
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  6. #6
    tsl
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    I save 1040 hours every year by being car-free. Since I don't have to earn money to support a car, I can live--and quite comfortably, I might add--on a half-time job.

    Working four five-hour days a week with every weekend being a three-day weekend is really tough to take! But I'll suffer through somehow.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  7. #7
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
    Unless one gets to commute on terrain he enjoys and would be riding on anyway, I don't think the financial angle is a great one. 'Cause as they say, time is money.

    Let's see...I save at least 500 hours a year driving a car to work versus riding my bike (on roads I wouldn't much enjoy riding on, especially at 5am when I go to work). Cost of used car (depreciates about $1k/year), insurance ($600k/year), fuel($1000!), and maintenance ($400) is about $3000/year. Hmm...500 hours of free time for $3000? I'd make that purchase every time! Even if I just went and spend that 500 hours riding my bike anyway, but on roads/trails I enjoy more than my commuting route, ha!
    Do you have any interest in being carfree or in using your car less than you do?


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  8. #8
    Wookie Fred chewybrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
    Unless one gets to commute on terrain he enjoys and would be riding on anyway, I don't think the financial angle is a great one. 'Cause as they say, time is money.

    Let's see...I save at least 500 hours a year driving a car to work versus riding my bike (on roads I wouldn't much enjoy riding on, especially at 5am when I go to work). Cost of used car (depreciates about $1k/year), insurance ($600k/year), fuel($1000!), and maintenance ($400) is about $3000/year. Hmm...500 hours of free time for $3000? I'd make that purchase every time! Even if I just went and spend that 500 hours riding my bike anyway, but on roads/trails I enjoy more than my commuting route, ha!
    Wow, I disagree with your assessment at nearly every turn. But, I'm just lucky enough to have a great commute. I'm out there at 5 a.m., before the wind picks up, before it gets hot, before the rain, when there are no cars--it's awesome!

    I think your estimates of car costs are low by half. For example, $1,000 of fuel=@350 gallons, maybe 7,000 miles--I ride nearly double that on my bike every year! 12,000 miles a year X 50 cents a mile leaves me thinking $6,000 a year is a better guess, for most people.

    The time is the biggest miscalculation, on my books, at least. I need miles on the bike to train up for my goals. So, when I commute by bike in 80 minutes instead of 40 in the car, I'm getting back 40 minutes a day, if you buy the assumption that I want the miles, anyway.(training for PBP)

    Neither answer is 'wrong'. It depends on the initial assumptions you make--different situation, different assumptions, different answer. (But, you do know you're in the car-free subforum, right...?)
    Campione Del Mondo Immaginario

  9. #9
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    I save 1040 hours every year by being car-free. Since I don't have to earn money to support a car, I can live--and quite comfortably, I might add--on a half-time job.

    Working four five-hour days a week with every weekend being a three-day weekend is really tough to take! But I'll suffer through somehow.
    Me too. I don't have it quite as good as you do, but I am able to work 4 days a week instead of the typical 5 day work week. This is in line with the reports that the average American spends about one-fifth of his or her income on automobiles and related expenses. Hmmm...one-fifth of income is equivalent to one day's pay. Most people could work one day a week for their cars instead of for themselves.

    That works out to 400 hours a year. so pacificaslim is working 400 hours a year in order to save 500 hours a year. He considers that to be a good deal. Oh well, to each his/her own!


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  10. #10
    Surf Bum
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Do you have any interest in being carfree or in using your car less than you do?
    Sure. I've lived large parts of my life without cars, but in places where it makes a lot more sense to do so than the USA. I enjoy watching all the arguments people here make about why it should make sense in the USA as well. I mean, I'm happy for them, but most seem to be making serious concessions on the potential quality of life in order to be car free in the usa (concessions not necessary in other parts of the world or at other times of our lives).

    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    so pacificaslim is working 400 hours a year in order to save 500 hours a year. He considers that to be a good deal. Oh well, to each his/her own!
    How do you figure? I certainly don't have to work 400 hours to earn the $3k I figured it cost me to own/operate a car. So I'm confused by this statement of yours.
    Want to buy: 56mm-58mm Ritchey road frame

  11. #11
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
    Sure. I've lived large parts of my life without cars, but in places where it makes a lot more sense to do so than the USA. I enjoy watching all the arguments people here make about why it should make sense in the USA as well. I mean, I'm happy for them, but most seem to be making serious concessions on the potential quality of life in order to be car free in the usa (concessions not necessary in other parts of the world or at other times of our lives).



    How do you figure? I certainly don't have to work 400 hours to earn the $3k I figured it cost me to own/operate a car. So I'm confused by this statement of yours.
    Like I said to each his/her own. I'm glad we amuse with our arguments.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  12. #12
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
    I save at least 500 hours a year driving a car to work versus riding my bike.
    500 hours is more than 2 hours a day, or more than an hour each way. If it takes you over an hour longer to bike to work than to drive, and it costs you $1000 annually for fuel to drive to work, then you probably live at least 15 miles away from work, making bike commuting somewhat impractical. So I’m not sure the problem is with biking per se, but rather with how far you live from your job.
    Last edited by cooker; 12-17-10 at 08:45 PM.

  13. #13
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mustang1 View Post
    Using the train is free for me
    How is that?

  14. #14
    Stealing Spokes since 82' Fizzaly's Avatar
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    I wasn't talking about any time saved, and to begin with i would rather be riding a bike than sitting in a car every day. I like riding it doesn't matter where it is, a road is a road. If you want to get into the argument of saving time and it being worth so much just work from home that would be the only way to save time. And as far as my to and from work rides i would only save 4-5 mins each way it would take a long time for that to add up to anything worth it. Why is there arguments about how much money is saved being carfree in the carfree forum?

  15. #15
    Stealing Spokes since 82' Fizzaly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    I save 1040 hours every year by being car-free. Since I don't have to earn money to support a car, I can live--and quite comfortably, I might add--on a half-time job.

    Working four five-hour days a week with every weekend being a three-day weekend is really tough to take! But I'll suffer through somehow.
    Lets trade jobs i miss 4 day work weeks

  16. #16
    Surf Bum
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    Oh, I'm sorry. Please continue on with your self-congratulatory pats on the back. Didn't mean to upset the flow by sharing a differing experience.

    Note, regarding carfree forum: yes, this website is broken up into various sub-forums. But many people simply use the "new posts" link when they arrive at the site and just look down the listing of subject lines and read whichever ones are interesting. Navigating this way, one hardly notices which sub-forum the thread is in.
    Want to buy: 56mm-58mm Ritchey road frame

  17. #17
    Stealing Spokes since 82' Fizzaly's Avatar
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    I will continue patting my self on the back, im sorry if it upsets you that i save money by not driving, should i burn it to make you happy?

  18. #18
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fizzaly View Post
    Lets trade jobs i miss 4 day work weeks
    Thanks for the offer, but I'll pass. Took me eight years to get this schedule.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


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  19. #19
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    There are some costs that frequently don't show up. Some of you may see these as either a severe limitation or a liberation... depending on your point of view.

    Having a car around allows you to take off to the other end of town to purchase something. For example, I would like to head off to Harbor Freight and buy some tools. The tools are cheap and I sort of need them (?) but the trip is only doable by car. I have managed to survive quite a while without them. Maybe I don't even need them.

    Here's another: I frequently turn down lunches with colleagues or near-colleagues because I don't have a car at work. I probably miss out on a lot of socializing and maybe a few career opportunities. Yesterday, I took the family car (and left the missus without one...) for the sole purpose of attending a monthly lunch I had missed since June. I had to struggle through really heavy traffic to get their, bolt down a quick lunch and then make another 15 minute drive back to work. All this and it was a nice winter day and I missed my ride to work

    One good thing about these missed opportunities is that I'm not spending any money on them....

  20. #20
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
    Oh, I'm sorry. Please continue on with your self-congratulatory pats on the back. Didn't mean to upset the flow by sharing a differing experience.
    Probably some of us are a bit quick to bite back, because you've inadvertently repeated a pattern that happens here all the time. Some new poster will arrive in the car free forum and their first post will be about how being car-free is not for them. Often delivered with a bit of attitude like your "ha!"

    I'm not car-free myself but I do try to minimize my car use and I deliberately chose to live within cycling and public transit range of work. Is that an option for you?

  21. #21
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    There are some costs that frequently don't show up. Some of you may see these as either a severe limitation or a liberation... depending on your point of view.

    Having a car around allows you to take off to the other end of town to purchase something. For example, I would like to head off to Harbor Freight and buy some tools. The tools are cheap and I sort of need them (?) but the trip is only doable by car. I have managed to survive quite a while without them. Maybe I don't even need them.

    Here's another: I frequently turn down lunches with colleagues or near-colleagues because I don't have a car at work. I probably miss out on a lot of socializing and maybe a few career opportunities. Yesterday, I took the family car (and left the missus without one...) for the sole purpose of attending a monthly lunch I had missed since June. I had to struggle through really heavy traffic to get their, bolt down a quick lunch and then make another 15 minute drive back to work. All this and it was a nice winter day and I missed my ride to work

    One good thing about these missed opportunities is that I'm not spending any money on them....
    Harbor Freight delivers...

    I have no clue where my nearest Harbor Freight is, the last few items I have purchased from them have been via the internet and FedUp brought them right to my door.

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  22. #22
    Surf Bum
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    Of course I would enjoy being able to live without a car and just bike and take trains/buses. When I was a student, I did just that. When I was a young worker without kids I did just that. But then as I became a family man, I moved to the San Francisco area. And as public transportation is very poor in this country, the options are either tremendously limit (geographically) one's life and what he's able to do, or...buy a car. I chose where to live based on schools, culture, convenience for my wife, and so on - so that they don't have to drive all over the place. But it does mean that I have a 15 mile (nearly all freeway) commute and a job that asks me to be able to respond 24/7/365 within 30min so I drive a compact car.

    I had previously been quite satisfied with a car free life (in Tokyo), but I must admit that when I moved here and got a car, my life really opened up! The places I could go and things I could do expanded greatly because of the personal automobile system in place here in the usa, compared to even the fully built out and affordable train, subway, and bus system in Japan.

    The financial question of this thread is an interesting one and I can see a lot of people really being able to save money by using a bike instead of a car. There are other trade offs that we shouldn't ignore though (time, access, income opportunities, etc.). And it is my belief that until we are able to mitigate most of those, cycling will never be that popular in the USA. We should stop all spending on bike infrastructure, and spend it on public transportation infrastructure instead, as that will lead to a greater increase in cycle usage than both spending on bike infrastructure and proselytizing about the benefits of cycling.
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  23. #23
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Schools in Pacifica don't seem especially high rated to me.

    I've never had car payments personally, and I'd NEVER finance a car, so I figure I save about $100 a month by being car free.
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  24. #24
    Stealing Spokes since 82' Fizzaly's Avatar
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    I havent sacrificed one thing since ive become carfree, i dont see a single trade off in my life. I live approx 4 miles from everywhere i need to go on a weekly basis, if i need to go further oh well i ride there is it really going to make a difference if i make it there half an hour sooner. The world didn't always have cars, i mean yeah sure they make things convenient, but the trade off for a car is the massive yearly cost that comes with it. And don't pull the blah blah blah it doesnt cost that much to operate a car, yes i believe for some the cost is minimal for me it is not. And im sorry but im the only one i care about when it comes to this subject. And to tell you the truth i could care less about how many people are car free im not in it to get others to do it, for those others that are carfree i give you props if your not car free bug-off and dont tell me how i should do things. I will once again say it, if i wanted to i could go down monday morning and get my license, but i dont see one way me driving would make my life any better.

  25. #25
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Harbor Freight delivers...
    Oops... you're right. Now I can fill up the garage...

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