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The (Financial) Case for Ditching the Car

Over at Carfree.us, a self-described "average Joe" is trying to wean himself off his car where possible. After two months, he attempts this...


Over at Carfree.us, a self-described "average Joe" is trying to wean himself off his car where possible. After two months, he attempts this quantitative estimate of the payoff:
In January and February I commuted by bicycle or bus a total of 36 days or 72 trips, not counting holidays and vacation days. Of those 72 trips I took the bus 32 times. February was a really cold, wet, and snowy month in Charlotte so I took the bus a lot in February....In two months I have had the following impact:I've saved $47 in gasoline expenses and the equivalent of $457 in fixed costs for a total savings of $471.49 when accounting for bus costs.Burned 22,356 calories which if I had been eating a normal diet is the equivalent of 6.4 pounds of fat!I have kept 543 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere (19.546 lbs per gallon and my car gets an average of 21 MPG).Simply multiplying these numbers for the year would equal 3260 pounds of CO2 kept out of the atmosphere, $2542 dollars saved, 134,000 calories burned, and 38.3 pounds of fat. If I had a car loan payment for a $20,000 the savings jumps to $7900!
There's more detail here.I'm a little suspicious of the way he calculates the "fixed cost" savings. After all, it's not as if the insurance or registration costs are pro-rated depending on how much he uses the car. He has to pay those in full no matter what. On that point, I think he does overestimate the cash savings.But getting to work by bike or bus is still indisputably cheaper and, as he notes, this analysis doesn't take into the physical and emotional benefits of the exercise and the closer contact with the community.
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