The economics of the morning commute
It seems like everyone is talking about ways to save money these days - millenials getting in trouble for eating a $20 smashed avo at brunch instead of saving for a home loan. Well, what if I told you there was a way to save up to $426 a year by making one change in your daily routine?
I recently started riding my bike to work instead of driving. The main reason I made this decision was so that I got a bit more exercise in my day, but I also started feeling pretty smug about the fact that I was using less petrol – so saving a bit of money and doing my bit for the environment. But how much am I saving?
Well, I crunched the numbers and it was definitely a big encouragement to keep doing what I'm doing.
My daily commute is 8.7km each way, or 17.4km per day. Based on the fuel efficiency of my car, I'm using about 1.47 litres of petrol for each day that I commute, at a cost of roughly $1.77 (based on the cost of petrol the last time I filled up). So by riding once a week for the whole year, I save myself about $85 on petrol. Not bad, but i've been riding much more than that, so if I ride three times a week, I end up covering about 2,505km, and saving myself $256! By adding in a 4th riding day, my savings jump to $426 for the year. The graphic below really shows how the savings build up.
As for the carbon emissions, there are a number of online resources for calculating your carbon footprint. I used myclimate which allows you to enter details of your trip to estimate the size of your CO2 footprint. Based on that, I worked out that each day I ride, saves 0.006T of CO2. Riding once a week for the whole year saves 0.3T of CO2, and if I ride 3 times a week, that's 0.9T of CO2. That may not seem like much but it's enough to power a 42 inch LCD TV for 225 days!
So although I may need some new pants to handle my increasingly jacked quads, biking more really makes sense.