Gas prices vs Start biking- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Gas prices vs Start biking

    I know a lot of threads are about cars vs biking to work. So any health benefits aside, I am really starting to wonder how much I'll save on gas. I can't count not paying oil changes, insurance, registration, etc. because I will still be keeping the vehicle. I'll only be saving on gas, and I would need a new bike for commuting. Is it really worth it at that point when I'll still be keeping my truck? I only live about 4 miles from work.

  2. #2
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    If it's about the dollars:

    How much do you spend in gas right now?
    How much will you ride?
    How long it will it take you to save enough gas to recover the cost of the new bike?
    :wq

  3. #3
    ride the moment
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    You'll be saving general wear and tear on the vehicle as well. That obviously varies from car to car so I'm not going to throw out a number, but depending on how much your tires, brakes, oil/fluids and other routine maintenance costs you might be saving quite a lot. The IRS business mileage deduction is $0.50/mile. Maybe use that estimate and see what you come up with.

    Also, if you end up drastically reducing your mileage you might qualify for lower insurance premiums. Do you pay to park?

    I personally don't save much because my commute is short. I ride because I hate driving around town.
    Hey Butthead, are we gonna die? - Beavis

  4. #4
    weirdo
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    Well, how the heck do any of us know how much you`ll save on gas? Dig out a calculator or find a pen and paper and figure it out.

    Sheesh!

  5. #5
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    Cycling will make you happy, and with the $ you save you can work less and ride more.

  6. #6
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    I spend $1 each way driving to work $2 total, and I wear out the car.
    When I ride, I eat $4 worth of extra food each day, and I wear out the bike.

  7. #7
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oh Baby View Post
    I spend $1 each way driving to work $2 total, and I wear out the car.
    When I ride, I eat $4 worth of extra food each day, and I wear out the bike.

    On the bright side, peanut butter and oatmeal are both cheap!

  8. #8
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    Dude, you're missing the whole point of this, you have a LEGIT excused for another bike We all know that the optimum amount of bikes is N+1 (when N=your current bikes) Seriously, if you only live 4 miles away and don't need the car to drive around on a day for work it's really a no brainer. You'll get some decent exercise, not have to deal with traffic. Don't know how long it takes you now in your truck, but I would guess 4 miles on a nicde rigid/hybrid on slicks would take like 15-20 minutes max, when you're starting out at most.

    I just did a commute today, roughly 11 miles each way, avg 15.5mph, took roughly 1.5 hours to do the total 22.6 miles. Now going down I avg 17.6 mph, but on the way home after some good hard manual labour I only managed 13.6 mph, but I didn't mind, was only tooling home, no real rush and still a decent avg overall. Would guess by our price for gas (roughly $12.50 a gallon) that I saved $8, but I got in a decent ride ading to my fitness and didn't have to sit in traffic.

    In essence, get the bike and commute when you feel like and maybe even start to throw in a little road riding to change things up a bit.
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    You're doing mtbr wrong, you're supposed to get increasingly offended by the implications that you're doing ANYTHING wrong.

  9. #9
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    Sorry I should have provided some more info I am already pretty active. I regularly compete in triathlon's, so the riding will be moot for me. I'm looking at a single speed 29er for the commute as I'll be on sidewalk most of the way. I don't pay to park, so that's a non-issue. Based on my calculations, it costs me $7.15 usd to drive to work a week, so a ~$400 bike will take about a year of riding every day for it to pay itself off. A year seems like a like a while, especially since winter riding will be a little rougher (Michigan). I know I can do it, I think it's just a matter of not being lazy really. It's probably because the bike I have now is just not very fun to ride.

  10. #10
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    It's not really fair to consider the cost of the bike but not the cost of your car. Unlike the bike, you could commute in your car for years and it would never pay for itself.

  11. #11
    That Unicycle Guy
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    Everyone's situation is different, but it is usually pretty easy to justify getting more bike stuff.

    I am only about 5km from work (~3mi), usually go home for lunch, so 20km a day, 100km a week.

    My vehicle burns about 20L/100km in town and gas costs around $1.30/L so if I drove it would cost me about $26/week to drive to work. a $400 bike would be payed for in gas savings in about 4 months to pay for itself. That makes spending about $1000/year on biking stuff a year seem pretty reasonable.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer View Post
    It's not really fair to consider the cost of the bike but not the cost of your car. Unlike the bike, you could commute in your car for years and it would never pay for itself.
    The only reason I don't consider the cost of the truck is because it's paid for and I don't have the bike. I don't know, might be faulty logic, but it makes sense in my head

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericpulvermacher View Post
    Everyone's situation is different, but it is usually pretty easy to justify getting more bike stuff.

    I am only about 5km from work (~3mi), usually go home for lunch, so 20km a day, 100km a week.

    My vehicle burns about 20L/100km in town and gas costs around $1.30/L so if I drove it would cost me about $26/week to drive to work. a $400 bike would be payed for in gas savings in about 4 months to pay for itself. That makes spending about $1000/year on biking stuff a year seem pretty reasonable.
    I did the math yesterday, so it costs be between 7-8 dollars a week to drive to work. That's average $4.00 a gallon gas and between 12-14 miles/gallon depending on winter and summer.

  14. #14
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    New bike may require new accessories, cost goes up even more, you will get flats, I have been commuting for years, I don't think I saved a whole lot. I have all the other benefits to keep me from driving, gas savings alone is not a real motivator. I guess you could walk or run, but that will cost you time, interesting discussion about gas, the real deal is gas has to get really expensive to make it a no brainer whether to drive or ride when you only weigh in the gas equation.

  15. #15
    Born With A Tail
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    For a 4-mile ride, you could buy a cheap used bike and it would work just fine. In my mind, it's not all about the money- which is why I will never be rich. I would ride if gas was $.50/gallon becuase I like to ride. I was gonna say that you shouldn't obsess over numbers and stats, then I saw you're a tri-athlete, so that and the idea of enjoying a ride might be a foreign idea. It can't hurt to give it a try. I should probably add: please don't get to riled by some friendly ribbbing. Some folks have trouble recognising a joke.
    Tequila tonight, tomorrow we ride!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by M-Train View Post
    For a 4-mile ride, you could buy a cheap used bike and it would work just fine. In my mind, it's not all about the money- which is why I will never be rich. I would ride if gas was $.50/gallon becuase I like to ride. I was gonna say that you shouldn't obsess over numbers and stats, then I saw you're a tri-athlete, so that and the idea of enjoying a ride might be a foreign idea. It can't hurt to give it a try. I should probably add: please don't get to riled by some friendly ribbbing. Some folks have trouble recognising a joke.
    Haha, I'm not as bad as most. I don't even train with a Garmin. Can't beat my trusty Timex Ironman 30-lap I have an old Gary Fisher Avant Garde hybrid bike complete with rack and fenders. Only issue is it really isn't that fun to ride, and I think that is just adding fuel to my laziness.

  17. #17
    miwuksurfer
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    So you have a commuter bike...
    I don't think riding a moutain bike to work would be more fun than any other kind of bike. If you need an excuse to buy a mountain bike, just say that you are saving money by riding your old bike to work then just get a mountain bike to go mountain biking.
    Maybe think about getting a cyclocross bike, like a surly crosscheck. Then you can throw some fat tires on it on the weekend and hit the singletrack or throw your fenders and rack on it for the commute.
    If I was starting over with my bikes, I would probably just get something like the Salsa Vaya with disc brakes and drop bars.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by miwuksurfer View Post
    So you have a commuter bike...
    I don't think riding a moutain bike to work would be more fun than any other kind of bike. If you need an excuse to buy a mountain bike, just say that you are saving money by riding your old bike to work then just get a mountain bike to go mountain biking.
    Maybe think about getting a cyclocross bike, like a surly crosscheck. Then you can throw some fat tires on it on the weekend and hit the singletrack or throw your fenders and rack on it for the commute.
    If I was starting over with my bikes, I would probably just get something like the Salsa Vaya with disc brakes and drop bars.
    The ride is rough, handle bars don't stay where I put them (threaded headset has an old clamp). I don't need a mountain bike, I have an '09 Specialized FSR XC.

  19. #19
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    You might be able to put some knobby tires on the commuter for a softer ride if that's what you are looking for. Of course then you have all the rolling resistance of softer tires. I have a hybrid bike that takes 700C tires, and I had Panaracer Fire Cross 700Cx45 tires on there for a while to use it as a mountain bike and a commuter. They got the job done, but it was neither a good mountain bike or a good commuter. I'm happy now that I bought a mountain bike and put slick tires back on the commuter.

    Another reason not to drive, besides some that have been mentioned here, is the externalities, or external costs, associated with driving. For example, if there are more cars on the road, the city has to do more road maintenance, build new roads and pay for police officers. And if you are sitting in a car all the time instead of biking, someone is probably going to have to pay more for your health care costs on average (whether that's you, your insurance company or the government...). There's also all the pollution created by cars, both from the exhaust pipe and the process of drilling for and refining oil, and the political cost associated with maintaining relationships (or going to war with) countries that produce oil. Eventually someone ends up paying for the externalities. Of course, by biking instead of driving, I don't actually save any money by reducing my externalities, but I can feel good about it. It's a step in the right direction towards a society that would be, in my opinion, much better off with extremely limited use of cars.
    Matt

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuzzy34 View Post
    I did the math yesterday, so it costs be between 7-8 dollars a week to drive to work. That's average $4.00 a gallon gas and between 12-14 miles/gallon depending on winter and summer.
    So basically you're looking at ~$400 per year in savings in gas alone. I used rough math (i.e I just did 5 days a week x 52 weeks a year) but using that data and the current IRS business use per mile cost of $.51/mile, you'd be at $1060 if you rode EVERY week day, all year.

    I don't know your situation, but I think I would struggle to make a dollars argument for riding to work based on those numbers. If I lived four miles away though, and it were safe to do so, I'd ride. That's what - 20 minutes? Good cardio.
    :wq

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuzzy34 View Post
    I did the math yesterday, so it costs be between 7-8 dollars a week to drive to work. That's average $4.00 a gallon gas and between 12-14 miles/gallon depending on winter and summer.
    You must not work 5 days a week then? If you drive 8 miles round trip that would be 40 miles a week, divided by 13 mpg = 3.07 gallons per week, times $4/gallon = $12.30/week not including wear and tear and depreciation.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuzzy34 View Post
    I know a lot of threads are about cars vs biking to work. So any health benefits aside, I am really starting to wonder how much I'll save on gas. I can't count not paying oil changes, insurance, registration, etc. because I will still be keeping the vehicle. I'll only be saving on gas, and I would need a new bike for commuting. Is it really worth it at that point when I'll still be keeping my truck? I only live about 4 miles from work.
    Bike commutting is not about saving gas...

    It is all about mental health and physical health...

    Course if you don't want health you could save a pittance in gas if that turns your crank.

  23. #23
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    OP - how about $30 to fix the headset problem, ride your Fisher to work, and buy a more serious triathlon bike?

    Unless your commute is the minority of your driving miles, you can figure a lower cost of oil changes into your money calculation. You'll reach whatever mileage interval it is less frequently. You're also drastically reducing the number of starts you put your engine through, which, along with raw mileage, has an impact on wear life.

    You could save even more walking to work, although it would be a little time-consuming.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  24. #24
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    savings abound!

    In the summer I ride my bike to work three times a week. When I'm only driving, I tend to fill up every 5 to 7 days. When I ride, I fill up once a month. I see a big savings. One of the hidden benefits of riding to work is that I use public transportation for other things. It's amazing how much gas you use during the lunch hour and during the day with miscellaneous trips. We love the cost savings! I like the health benefits (and the stress relief in particular), too. I can't recommend it enough.
    "You'll thank me when it's all said and done"

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuzzy34 View Post
    Sorry I should have provided some more info I am already pretty active. I regularly compete in triathlon's, so the riding will be moot for me. I'm looking at a single speed 29er for the commute as I'll be on sidewalk most of the way. I don't pay to park, so that's a non-issue. Based on my calculations, it costs me $7.15 usd to drive to work a week, so a ~$400 bike will take about a year of riding every day for it to pay itself off. A year seems like a like a while, especially since winter riding will be a little rougher (Michigan). I know I can do it, I think it's just a matter of not being lazy really. It's probably because the bike I have now is just not very fun to ride.
    Gears can be a godsend in the winter....think of plowing through snow up to the BB

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    OP - how about $30 to fix the headset problem, ride your Fisher to work, and buy a more serious triathlon bike?

    Unless your commute is the minority of your driving miles, you can figure a lower cost of oil changes into your money calculation. You'll reach whatever mileage interval it is less frequently. You're also drastically reducing the number of starts you put your engine through, which, along with raw mileage, has an impact on wear life.

    You could save even more walking to work, although it would be a little time-consuming.
    I already have a triathlon bike, so that isn't as issue either.

    We drive my wife's car most of the time now as it gets a lot better mileage than my truck, so driving to work is the majority, if not all the miles on my truck. I never thought about engine starts though, that's a good point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Straz85 View Post
    You must not work 5 days a week then? If you drive 8 miles round trip that would be 40 miles a week, divided by 13 mpg = 3.07 gallons per week, times $4/gallon = $12.30/week not including wear and tear and depreciation.
    I didn't save my excel sheet, but you're right. How I managed to mess up a simple calculation, I'm not sure

  27. #27
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Triathlons and the bike in the same breathe, and a lot of people do triathlons just to finish, on pretty odd equipment.

    A big part of the impetus to commute by bike, for me, is that I think it saves me money. I have an older road bike I bought for $95 for the purpose, and while the fit's a little off and I wouldn't want to train on it, it does an excellent job at what I do want from it. It sounds like you want your commuter to be fun, too, though. If you have a safe place to keep your bike, maybe a massed start bike is in order - it'll be something you can also take on group rides with roadies who get nervous around aero bars. You can do it for $400 if it's not new. Or a singlespeed road bike. I know I'd be looking at road bikes, though - even a really fast mountain bike always feels a little ponderous to me by comparison. At least, unless you can sneak in a little trail time on your commute. In which case I hate you.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Triathlons and the bike in the same breathe, and a lot of people do triathlons just to finish, on pretty odd equipment.

    A big part of the impetus to commute by bike, for me, is that I think it saves me money. I have an older road bike I bought for $95 for the purpose, and while the fit's a little off and I wouldn't want to train on it, it does an excellent job at what I do want from it. It sounds like you want your commuter to be fun, too, though. If you have a safe place to keep your bike, maybe a massed start bike is in order - it'll be something you can also take on group rides with roadies who get nervous around aero bars. You can do it for $400 if it's not new. Or a singlespeed road bike. I know I'd be looking at road bikes, though - even a really fast mountain bike always feels a little ponderous to me by comparison. At least, unless you can sneak in a little trail time on your commute. In which case I hate you.
    One of the main reasons I'm looking toward MTB vs road bike is the ability to ride in snow. Granted I would probably still drive on the deepest days, but the discs+bigger tires have always handled better for me.

  29. #29
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    [QUOTE=Blister Butt;.[/QUOTE]

    Blister Butt, my avatar (Huneck's "dogs are trusting but not stupid") wants to know what your avatar is saying.

  30. #30
    ride the moment
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    I would probably ride even if it cost me money. This hobby (like many others) is a giant hole to throw your money into. Good lights cross over to MTB, but add another $100 minimum if you actually want to see and be seen at night. Need a waterproof backpack or pannier for laptop, clothes etc? That'll be another $100+.

    I tend to look at driving as a weakness, similar to elevators, ski lifts, etc. That doesn't mean I never drive or take the elevator, but in either case it's got to be a distance that makes me wince a little. I tend to think people who take an elevator up 4-5 flights of stairs are b!tches. Same with people who drive a couple miles. I still drive the 4 miles to get a 40 lb. bag of dog food, I just acknowledge that I'm doing it because I'm weak. It's not a mindset I've cultivated to help me stay motivated, it's just how I see it all.
    Hey Butthead, are we gonna die? - Beavis

  31. #31
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    I save zero money by commuting. I like buying neat gear to much but at least biking to work helps me towards break even.

  32. #32
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    I live 3 miles from work.
    It's not worth even locating my keys.
    Just get on the bike and ride.
    No traffic. No waiting for some jerk in front of you to move. Big SUVs are so silly.

  33. #33
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    if you don't care about panniers and don't mind single-speed and want a cheap, good-looking ride to work, then check out www.solebicycles.com. i might just buy one for my commuter. i currently have an SS road bike that i beat on and commute to school with, as well as do 14 mile daily rides on but want something a little prettier.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer View Post
    Blister Butt, my avatar (Huneck's "dogs are trusting but not stupid") wants to know what your avatar is saying.
    My avatar is trying to convince anyone who will listen that the vile green cloud of stink coming from his butt is not his....
    "You'll thank me when it's all said and done"

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