How much money would cycling to work save you over a year?
Leonevondizic / Twenty20.com
Imagine the pounds you could lose and the carbon you could avoid releasing into the atmosphere by cycling to work every day instead of commuting the old-fashioned way.
Now imagine the money you could save if you did this for an entire year.
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Every mile you spend driving or taking public transit to and from work consumes a little more of the salary you go there to earn in the first place. If you choose your bike instead, your ride will be as free, clean and healthy as humanly possible.
If you’re planning on challenging yourself to go on a two-wheeled ride, things are bound to get tough. When it does, just smile as you pedal thinking about all the money these two wheels are saving you.
Your car is costing you thousands
GOBankingRates used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to give commuters an idea of what they could expect to save by ditching their vehicles in favor of bicycles.
If you’ve gotten rid of your car completely, here’s a breakdown of how life could be cheaper by avoiding the following expenses:
- Car insurance: $1,575 per year or $131.25 per month
- Gasoline, other fuels and engine oil: $1,568 per year or $130.67 per month
- Maintenance and repairs : $879 per year or $73.25 per month
- Vehicle financing costs: $258 per year or $21.50 per month
In total, you’ll save $356.67 per month and $4,280 over the year.
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If you keep your car but leave it parked while you bike to work, you’ll save $1,568 a year on gas, other fuels and motor oil, which is a savings of $130 $.67 per month or $4.30 for each day spent riding.
Again, this is an academic synopsis based on BLS data. Keep reading to see how these numbers might play out in real life.
According to CRM.org, the 2022 calendar contains 260 business or working days. Due to where the weekends land, that’s one less than 2021. March and August are tied for the most working days, with 23 each.
Assuming a 10-mile ride each way, that’s 5,200 miles cycled and not driven if you trade four wheels for two full-time.
This would represent a big break not only for the planet and your cardiovascular system but also for your wallet.
According to the Department of Energy, the average vehicle now gets a record 25.7 miles per gallon.
That translates to 202.33 gallons of gas never burned or purchased if you cycle to work. With AAA quoting the current national average gas price at $4.85 per gallon, that’s $981.30 a year you’ll save in gas just by twisting the pedals instead of pressing one.
According to a 2021 AAA study, vehicle maintenance and repairs cost an average of 9.55 cents per mile. Keeping the same 5,200 mile annual trip scenario, that’s a savings of $497 per year.
Unless you’re going to Mars, you shouldn’t have to buy new tires every year, but eventually you will. According to Consumer Reports, the average buyer pays an estimated price of $167 per tire for their vehicles. A single commuter bike tire, on the other hand, only costs $30 to $40 to replace, according to The Mount Bike.
Insurance companies charge more for longer trips
You may be able to save money on car insurance even if you only cycle to work occasionally. That’s because you can reduce what insurers call “travel miles,” according to Kelley Blue Book (KBB).
Since commuting is the primary reason most people drive, insurance companies typically allow up to 20 miles each way to get to work before they start raising premiums. Carriers use trip miles to determine if a driver’s annual mileage estimates are realistic — and insurers charge more for longer trips. Commuters are more likely to pay more for longer journeys if they make their daily journeys in densely populated areas where accidents are more frequent.
Even if you don’t eliminate commuting miles entirely, you can reduce them by pedaling to work at least some of the time.
At the other end of the spectrum are infrequent drivers. The average motorist travels 14,263 miles per year, according to the most recent data from the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration.
The commuter in the gas cost example drove 5,200 miles per year – but that was for a 20 mile round trip. The industry standard allowance for commuters is double – 20 miles each way – or 10,400 miles per year. So subtracted from the annual average – 14,263 – that’s just 3,863 miles traveled per year for commuters who cycle to work.
According to CNET, motorists who drive less than 7,500 miles per year are considered low-mileage drivers and qualify for reduced insurance rates. Those who ride less than 5,000 miles – the full-time rider in this example easily qualifies – pay the lowest fares of all.
Even if you don’t drive, you’ll save on public transport
The cost of public transport varies so much from city to city that it is impossible to calculate a national average, but if you ride, you pay.
For example, a recent Lending Tree study shows that commuters in Champaign, Illinois can get a 30-day unlimited transit pass for just $20 a month. The median income there, however, is a measly $13,200.
At the other end of the spectrum is Los Angeles, where a monthly pass costs $122 – the highest of any city in America. Public transit is so expensive in Los Angeles that commuting eats up 8.69% of the average cyclist’s income, compared to 1.8% in Champaign.
So, depending on where you live, you could save between $240 and $1,464 a year by cycling to work instead of taking public transit.
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