The high cost of driving

I listed 10 reasons to cycle to work in a previous post.  I missed one.  A big one. The high cost of driving.

I came across the above infographic today.  If is based on a study entitled Life Cycle Assessment of Transportation Options for Commuters in 2010.  I drive a SUV and I bike.  The difference in annual operating costs is staggering – $11,000 vs $300!  Bewildering!  Why would anyone choose to drive if they could realistically cycle?

I began questioning the numbers?  Are they realistic?  What costs are included?  I found an online car cost calculator published by the Canadian Automobile Association only to discover the average cost of operating a SUV in Canada is higher taking into account the initial purchase price, fuel, maintenance, insurance, license and depreciation over a 5-7 year span – $12,761.  Yikes!  And, this does not include parking.  I had no idea it was this high.  And look at the environmental cost – 24,00 kg of greenhouse gases emitted.

Screen Shot 2013-09-12 at 2.15.04 PM

If ever I needed as reason to commute by bike, this was it.  $12,000 versus $300?  Think of the things I could do or buy with an extra $11,700 every year.  Another trip to Maui.  Another road bike (you can never have too many bikes).  Another year’s tuition for my daughter.  A new bathroom.  The list is never ending.

Is the annual cycling cost of $308 in 2010 correct?  James Schwartz of the Urban Country substantiates this number estimating that it costs $350 CAD annually on average to commute by bike in 2011 (these are US numbers assuming a new bike every 5 years).  My commuter bike is 20+ years old, fully depreciated and inexpensive to maintain so I suspect my cost is significantly lower.

The bottom line is that these numbers are reasonable.  The cost saving, let alone the benefits to your health and the environment, is motive enough.  Even if you don’t have the facilities, clothing and all of the other items I list as deterrents, the cost saving outweighs them all.

2 thoughts on “The high cost of driving

  1. LOL! They obviously don’t buy bikes like I do… I’m closer to $1,917 (though now that I have everything I want, that should drop considerably over the next couple of years).

  2. I know. My last road bike cost ~ $8,000. But I have a commuter that is 20 years old that I have recently retrofitted for ~ $100. Whatever the cost of the bike it is less expensive than my Touareg.

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