Common sense would tell most of us that it is cheaper to ride a bike to work than to drive a car, but data compiled by League of American Bicyclists and others suggests a vast amount could be saved by riding even one day a week rather than driving.
How much? At least $4.6 billion annually, according to a story today in Forbes Magazine which reports:
“The average annual operating cost of a bicycle is $308, compared to $8,220 for the average car, and if American drivers replaced just one four-mile car trip with a bike each week for the entire year, it would save more than two billion gallons of gas, for a total savings of $7.3 billion a year, based on $4 a gallon for gas.”
Read more: Pedaling to Prosperity.
These stories irk me to no end. You’ve taken the numbers from a group with both an agenda, and a vested interest in the outcome of the study, and published them as gospel without any objective look at how they came up with those numbers.
I have no doubt that cutting out one trip by automobile each week can save a person quite a bit of money, that’s why I often walk to do my errands, but I wonder how many extra gallons of gas cyclists burn each year transporting their bikes to more scenic places to ride, such as the White Pine Trail as just one example. My guess, and it is just a guess, is that the average recreational cyclist burns more gas each year than they save.
I think you’ll have to take it up with Forbes Magazine. It’s food for thought here – as is your assertion.
I labeled my assertion as just being a guess on my part, an educated guess, but a guess.
Your reply is indicative of another growing problem with the media, ” Since some one else published the story first, it absolves me of my responsibilities as a journalist to do any fact checking or verify the numbers”. So these stories get bounced around until they do become reality, even if they are a false reality.
Thanks for sharing your concerns. I generally consider Forbes to be a high-quality publication in terms of its fact-checking, not one to typically print bogus arguments as fact. In fact, it was a pleasant surprise to see it move this story forward. But I suppose you could suggest they have done the same. That the numbers come from the League may be reason to look more closely, but having an agenda doesn’t necessarily make them wrong. The figures were stated as facts, What conclusions people draw from them will vary.
And as you have said: a saving is a savings is a savings.