So I was riding home with my work colleague the other night. Talking about the weather and other shit that we do and we got talking about electric cars. This made me remember about my recent twitter spat with some moron who was trying to convince the Twittersphere that an electric car with 4 occupants produced less CO2 than 4 cyclists because cyclists eat more so therefore their carbon footprint from the food production is bigger. I sense you all shaking your heads but it did prompt a blog post from me. Have a read. Anyway this lead the conversation onto the cost of cars, maintenance, tax, insurance etc versus the cost of running a bike to commute on. Massive difference obviously but then we talked about the money saved through commuting on fuel. I did a quick calculation in my head and realised it is probably significant but not something I’d ever worked out. So guess what? I got home, sat down and worked it out. Here are my figures.
I’ve been riding to work for years but I wouldn’t say I was a committed commuter until late last year. Prior to that I was probably what you would call a keen or occasional one. Now, rain or shine I commute diligently every day I can. Mostly 4 days a week. It would be 5 but I have regular family commitments on a Monday, in school term time, which require me to get home quicker than I can on my bike but occasionally I’ll do 5 days.
So the maths. For this calculation I’m going to keep it very simple and base it on 48 weeks of the year to take into account time away on holiday.
So 48 weeks x 4 days a week = 192 commuting days
192 commuting days x 2 commutes a day = 384 commutes
384 commutes x 14 miles = 5376 car commuting miles a year
Its important to note here I’m been quite conservative. I probably ride a few more commutes than I have accounted for and my equivalent car journeys I’m replacing are a bit longer as I’m able to ride more directly on my bike. My bike commute is about 12.5 miles.
My car is a Fiat Panda 1.2 (thanks Mom xxx. She gave it to me a few years ago!) Its fuel consumption works out about 35 mpg because a lot of my driving is short stop and start.
5376 car commuting miles / 35 mpg = 153.6 gallons of fuel saved
The last tank of fuel I paid for yesterday cost me £1.22 per litre. A gallon is 4.54 litres.
153.6 gallons x 4.54 = 697.34 litres of fuel saved
and the magic figure is all of those litres of fuel multiplied by how much they cost each
697.34 litres of fuel used x £1.22 per litre = £850.76
So there we go. By riding my bike to work I save £850 a year alone on fuel. Thats a holiday or a really good pair of wheels for my bike.
If I was to to work out the cost of running my car per mile by taking into account tax, insurance and maintenance, the irony is that the less I use the car now the more expensive it is to run per mile so my savings are actually higher.
I would love to ditch my car and just have one between me and my girlfriend. We’ve talked about it but as the car was given to me and I’m not paying for it, right now, given my commitments I’d be worse off. If I was paying for a new car though, I think I’d be asking myself some questions.
Let me know how much you think you save a year by riding to work on your bike. Use my calculations above. It will take just a few minutes.
Thanks for reading again.