Dollars and sense

Day 10
No miles today

World Car-Free Day is Thursday (9/22) and, according to Wikipedia, it’s an event that’s been happening in a worldwide way since 2000. I know of it because Denver B-cycle is celebrating with a pro-transportation alternatives Happy Hour at the Buckhorn Exchange from 5 – 7 p.m.

The folks at Denver B-cycle used an interesting graphic to advertise the event. From the National Building Museum‘s website, it illustrates how much dough the average American spends on their car, how much of that leaves the local economy and then conjectures how much how reducing car ownership could drive local spending:

While I think the “money that could stay in the local economy” figure might be a bit of a stretch, this graphic brings up an excellent point: gas, insurance, purchase price over time and finance charges are dollars spent that vanish from the local economy, it’s only the maintenance costs and fees that stay.

Now, on a separate but related topic, let’s measure up the savings/spending I can expect this year:

  • The $600 I would have spent annually on insurance stays right in my pocket.
  • I’ve already biked 130 miles and that would have cost ((130/14 mpg) x $3.60) about $33 bucks in gas. If we say this is my weekly average, then I will save ($33 x 52) $1,738 in gas this year.
  • No registration fees, no taxes. In fact, since I’ve donated my car (though the bike value will come off of the total donation), I may receive a tax write-off.
  • No parking fees. Now I hadn’t incurred any in Denver, yet. But, in Philly, I had paid $110/month to park and, in NYC, I would have paid $400+/month, but instead we invested precious amounts of time into street parking and the corollary street sweeping schedule.
  • No matter what vehicle you have, you can’t avoid maintenance. The Bike Depot is in my corner in that regard, I just pay for parts. But no engine, no transmission, no catalytic converter to replace.
  • The four tires on my car cost about $650 to replace, a bike tire (and only two) are considerably more reasonable.
  • No more AAA membership.
  • No more speeding tickets.

I did have a bit of an investment to make in some new gear: a lock, $40, a kickstand, $35, lights, $25, waterbottle holders, $6, bicycle shorts, $25. Still ahead to purchase is some rain gear, $1oo-200, gloves, $25, balaclava, $10, new helmet, $30, and maybe some bike shoes, $80. It’ll be between $3oo-500 when I’m done (but you’re never really done), which I hadn’t really foreseen but is a manageable figure considering what I’m embarking on.

It’s amazing how changing my transportation paradigm really has the power to change so many things, particularly the way I spend. All dollar outlay for the bike thus far has been at a local non-profit bike shop and a retailer. And I will say this, there is nothing like having to schlep your wares on a bike to encourage one to shop locally.

One more graphic link, in closing, for those who were hoping for more of an in-depth, triple bottom line sort of analysis on the whole affair. This is a data visualization of carbon from GE, that was linked from the unparalleled Information is Beautiful site.

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One thought on “Dollars and sense

  1. sue says:

    I think gas stays in the local economy, in fact I’m sure of it..

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