recently, i came across a new york times blog that outlined the comparative costs of car v. bike ownership in new york city. among the 159 comments in response to this entry, my favorite was: "come on. be practical. rest of america is not new york." and that got me thinking...
i'm single with no children, live in the motor city, work 15 miles from my apartment, go to church 30 miles away, love to socialize by "going out," and have been tracking my monthly expenses religiously since i moved here last year. the past 14 months reveal:
car - $4654
i drive a 1999 chevy prism that my parents gifted to me. it has approximately 145k miles, and i piggyback off mom and pops insurance to get a lower rate.
purchase - $0
insurance - $560
gas - $1538
maintenance - $2556
bicycle - $323
i ride a custom build road bike i bought from a community bike shop. during the summer months, i rarely use a car. from october-march, i use my bike primarily for recreation and short commutes within the city.
purchase - $250
maintenance - $18
security & accessories - $55
other transportation costs - $1324
public transit - $59
trains, planes, and (rented) automobiles - $1265
dollar for dollar, i have found owning a bike is approximately 14 times cheaper than owning a car in detroit. as the daughter of an economist, i feel compelled to bring up opportunity costs, such as time, convenience, earning potential, security, and social capital. i'm admittedly biased toward cycling and public transit, but that's not everyone's cup of tea.
commentator 159 is right. the rest of america is not new york. where do you live? how much does it cost you to get around?
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