My Nissan Altima gets decent gas mileage. 20 miles per gallon or so in the city, 28+ mpg on the highway (depending on how fast I'm driving). We only live 4.2 miles from work, and if I don't go anywhere else, I usually buy three tanks of gas every two months, or 1.5 tanks a month.
I ran the numbers a week or so ago because I was curious to see how much money it costs me to drive to work each day.
- Distance: 4.2 miles one way, 8.4 total
- Gas tank capacity: 17 gallons
- Gas price: $4.00/ gallon
- Fuel efficiency: 20 mpg
So... trying to remember a little math problem solving here...
17 gallons of gas X $4.00/ gallon='s $68.00 to fill an empty tank (!!!)
17 gallons of gas X 20 mpg='s 340 miles on one tank
340 miles / 8.4 miles per trip='s 40 trips
8.4 miles per round trip/ 20 mpg='s .42 gallons per trip
.42 gallons X $4.00='s $1.68 per round trip
$1.68 per round trip X 5 times/ week='s $8.40
$8.40 x 4 weeks a month='s $33.6 dollars a month in gas.
... huh. Even with gas at $4 a gallon, $33.60 a month in gas to drive back and forth to work might just be worth the convenience.
Riding my bike is a good alternative, if I don't have a late night meeting or obligation. For example, I rode my bike to work in the 35 degree weather yesterday. The ride took me 20 minutes (which seems slow; I'm out of biking shape) and was pretty easy, although I did arrive both chilled and sweating a bit.
I planned to bike from work to an AOII obligation at 6pm, then home before dark at 8:30pm. And then it started snowing. And then there was a winter storm advisory which rapidly progressed into a winter storm warning. Instead of completing my loop, I put my bike in the back of DJ's truck and rode home with him. Had a quick dinner, and drove back into town for my AOII meeting. Drove home at 9pm in a blizzard.
So yeah, that didn't really work out well. I like getting in an extra 20 minutes of cardio, and the 15-20 minute ride is comparable to driving. The real hassle with biking to work is the uncertainty of it. What if it snows? What if it rains? I usually have 2 night meetings a week; it'd be a fruitless endeavor to ride into work, then make DJ come get me because of weather. I'm also the bag lady, with a lunch bag, purse, briefcase, and sometimes gym bag. How do I schlepp all of that, not to mention coffee, to and fro?
Hopefully the weather will stabilize shortly. I do plan to ride my bike to work frequently this summer, but not because I'll save money. The environmental impact is nice, but I don't have a huge footprint of oil consumption already. I'll bike to work because it's a fun way to add more exercise to my day, to enjoy the weather and to change up my routine. But biking to work 3 times a week probably won't really start until