Save $10,000 By Riding A Bike Instead Of Driving

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bikenomicsThe average American family spends about $10,000 a year for transportation, according to Author Elly Blue’s new book Bikenomics. By biking, walking, and riding public transportation, a great deal of money could be saved by consumers.  Blue’s insight rings true: I had a co-worker who had not owned a car for many years, and she said she saved about $10,000 a year each year of being carless. In other words, she saved over $50,000 during that time.

Since most of us are in the habit of driving cars, we may assume that is the thing to do and overlook the costs due to the extra convenience. If a family in an urban area could save $100,000 in ten years of not driving a car, however, that money could be used on education for the children. Today, one of the major costs and concerns for parents is how they are going to pay for higher education. (Typically, it is through loans, some with high interest rates, and today’s economy is not making it easy at all for young college graduates to pay those off, or to even begin.)

Still, young adults most likely want a car, even if they also have loans and credit card debt. This desire is partly due to the general consumer culture we live in, but also simply due to the habit of being car dependent, though they are alternatives.

If the average American has about $8,000 in credit card debt, then reducing or eliminating dependence on a car could help pay that balance off fairly quickly. Getting out of debt has benefits for the future — especially with credit card debt because of the interest rates which can be over 20%. So, getting out of debt eliminates all the interest that would have been paid, if the debt had been carried forward.

Of course, there are other benefits to bicycling such as weight loss, increased fitness, stress reduction, and enjoyment. Also, regular cardiovascular exercise is one of the best natural antidepressants.

The collective benefit would be seen in reducing the obesity epidemic and the high rate of heart disease. Both of these medical conditions cause a great deal of suffering and nationally are very costly. Biking has also been shown to boost local economies by increasing human traffic to businesses, even if parking spots for cars are full.

If you are interested in bikes, check out our bicycling channel for much more along these lines!

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Jake Richardson

Hello, I have been writing online for some time, and enjoy the outdoors. If you like, you can follow me on Twitter:

Jake Richardson has 1008 posts and counting. See all posts by Jake Richardson

7 thoughts on “Save $10,000 By Riding A Bike Instead Of Driving

  • Oh dear. You are a typical American householder and spend $10,000 a year on transportation, mostly by car. You ditch the car and buy a bike. But you don’t save $10,000 minus the cost of the bike. You also have to spend money on public transport for the 2.5 (or whatever) members of the household – trains, trams, buses, taxis, and occasional car or van hire for long trips and heavy shopping. Try to find some solid numbers.

    • I wouldn’t assume you have to take transit. Depends on your location, but in many places it’s really not needed. I’ve lived without a car in 5 different US cities (in 5 diff states) and 2 European cities. The needs varied — in some I did use transit. But I certainly saved tens of thousands over the past 9 years or so… At a certain point, the “average” doesn’t really matter — you just have to look at your individual situation. But I would say there are many, many places in the US where the whole family doesn’t need to pay almost anything for transportation beyond a bike and their own two feet. (However, there are certainly community and housing location choices that are important here.)

    • The saving of USD 10,000 must be just an estimate. Why not figure in the cost of time saved when you can slip past on bikes and don’t get get stuck in traffic jams? Add in the annual carbon tax on fossil fuel you would save by not using a car, its maintenance,parking charges…..In Delhi, you can by a car for around Rs 600,000 or near about the USD 10,000 you would save in the US! Spending money on public transport to get around is not costing anyone a fortune anywhere in the world! Let us walk and cycle to save our blue Earth!

  • People know the benefits or should I say that the cost of motoring,. Slapping a round number like $10k to try and convert them is a nice idea, but of course won’t change anything as the ignorant masses are so – called for a reason. Dependent.
    I cycled 20miles each way to work for a few years and saved 50% of my net salary to enable a year abroad (bikepacking), but it never changed people close to me to do likewise.

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