The Economics of Cycling...

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The Economics of Cycling...

Postby JessicaAlba » Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:27 pm

It was recently made known to me, via some media varient, that the average Australian motorist will use approximately $8000 worth of fuel in a year.

This was of particular interest to me, since I have been fending off questions of my mental state from friends/people in general since purchasing my first (and now second) bike. I have already noticed the lack of burden to my wallet and even considering I have spent close to $6K on bikes and bits this year, I am still well ahead...and heading into next year, with said bikes and bits well and truly paid for, the only way is up, from what I can see.

My four wheeled transport is a late model Honda Accord, a very nice drive to be sure, but since learning of this little tid bit, I can see it spending a lot more time in the garage.

The economics of cycling make perfect sense to me...
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by BNA » Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:36 pm

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Re: The Economics of Cycling...

Postby liquor box » Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:36 pm

JessicaAlba wrote:It was recently made known to me, via some media varient, that the average Australian motorist will use approximately $8000 worth of fuel in a year.

This was of particular interest to me, since I have been fending off questions of my mental state from friends/people in general since purchasing my first (and now second) bike. I have already noticed the lack of burden to my wallet and even considering I have spent close to $6K on bikes and bits this year, I am still well ahead...and heading into next year, with said bikes and bits well and truly paid for, the only way is up, from what I can see.

My four wheeled transport is a late model Honda Accord, a very nice drive to be sure, but since learning of this little tid bit, I can see it spending a lot more time in the garage.

The economics of cycling make perfect sense to me...

I think $8000 would be closer to the total spend on a car, not fuel, that works out to $153.85 by my calculation. As it is an average then that is bloody high as that must be close to 100-1500km (or more)a week depending on the car.
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Re: The Economics of Cycling...

Postby sunho » Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:48 pm

1 week = 40 bucks for fuel
1 year = 40 x 52 = $2080

Then you have rego, servicing slips etc.

About the cost of a decent bike :)
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Re: The Economics of Cycling...

Postby g-boaf » Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:59 pm

Think about it, you can spend all that money on fuel for an average run of the mill car, or you can spend that money on a very exotic bicycle. :D I know what I'd prefer. :)

And you are out and about with friendly, smiling happy people, rather than jammed up in traffic with angry, aggressive stressed out motorists. (unless you have to be among those motorists).
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Re: The Economics of Cycling...

Postby Nobody » Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:07 pm

Like anything, you can spend a lot if you have a cost-is-no-object attitude to either bikes or cars.

To drive to work costs me < $1000 a year in fuel. I drive a 20 year old car which I repair and service myself so the rest of my costs are usually <$1500 a year. Depreciation (which is usually the biggest cost) is probably <$500 a year in my case. So my car costs < $3000 to run per year.

My bikes - which are a hobby and form of exercise - cost me <$1000 per year currently. The costs are getting cheaper with each successive year as I get further from the initial spend stage.
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Re: The Economics of Cycling...

Postby il padrone » Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:21 pm

sunho wrote:1 week = 40 bucks for fuel
1 year = 40 x 52 = $2080

Your car only costs you $40 per week in fuel? You must have a real econmiser.

Our last car (Commodore) went through about $60-70 per week, with a 20km return commute and a fair bit of child-taxiing. Since moving to the E-gas Ford and ridng the commute much more, it is now just $70 about every 3 weeks.
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Re: The Economics of Cycling...

Postby Xplora » Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:29 pm

A lot of people put 100 a week through the tank. 8K a year isn't the average but it's DEFINITELY the average running costs. I doubt it would include depreciation either.

Either way, you save incredible amounts of money riding. Most people would have to spend 150 bucks a month on a train ticket, no one uses that many tubes and services. I'd say that a bike is roughly half the expense of alternatives except for walking... but the time saving fixes that up. Ride. It's the only sane choice.
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Re: The Economics of Cycling...

Postby sunho » Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:58 pm

40 now that I don't need to drive anywhere basically! Hehe.

There are just too many benefits to cycling.
Health, money, etc. Just not so many friends on the road! Cars that is!

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Re: The Economics of Cycling...

Postby rkelsen » Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:07 am

I think the $8,000 would have been total cost, not just fuel. If the average motorist does 20,000km per year, then their fuel bill would probably be somewhere in the vicinity of $3,500.

To that you would need to add:
Parking,
Rego,
Insurance,
Tyres (1 set every 3 years),
Servicing (2 minor services per year with 1 major service every 2 years),
Depreciation,
Interest/finance costs,
and repairs of anything which breaks.

The costs do add up quickly though.

I've found that as a cycle commuter I'm spending about $300 per year on consumable parts for my bike. I buy everything online, so I'm saving a lot there. If I were buying the same stuff in local shops, it'd probably be closer to $800. Still a few hundred dollars cheaper than public transport and significantly cheaper than running a car.
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Re: The Economics of Cycling...

Postby gdt » Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:26 am

The major saving from cycling is simply from not turning over the car's odometer -- boosting the second-had price of the car (or increasing the life of your car, depending on your point of view) and lowering maintenance costs.

Cycling itself isn't free of costs. For the first year the acquisition of clothing, etc makes the cost roughly the same as fueling a small car. It's not until the second season that you start to save serious money.
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Re: The Economics of Cycling...

Postby Lizzy » Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:36 am

g-boaf wrote:And you are out and about with friendly, smiling happy people, rather than jammed up in traffic with angry, aggressive stressed out motorists. (unless you have to be among those motorists).


Yep, that's the priceless bit.

To break it down for me, although I still run a car and drive occasionally, riding to work saves me about $7 a day in bus fare. Then, because I've got my exercise done during the time I'd otherwise be sitting on my can burning petrol one way or other, I've just saved $10 on a gym session or spin class. To take that a step further, if instead of not going to gym/spin, I don't go to a 1-on-1 personal trainer after work each day, that's, what, $60 bucks back in my pocket!? So to extrapolate those savings over 48 working weeks a year, adjusting for service/consumables and the occasional gadget, I'm calling that comfortably in excess of $15k :mrgreen:

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Re: The Economics of Cycling...

Postby JustJames » Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:04 pm

g-boaf wrote:...
And you are out and about with friendly, smiling happy people, rather than jammed up in traffic with angry, aggressive stressed out motorists. (unless you have to be among those motorists).


Don't know where you fly, Concorde, but on my once-a-week commute between Chatswood and Dee Why, I greet every cyclist I see, and get barely an acknowledgement back. I don't expect a conversation...but a cheery "G'day!" or even a smile or wave would be nice.
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Re: The Economics of Cycling...

Postby jasonc » Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:10 pm

I was ahead on costs for the year, til I bought a new bike :oops:

I calculate costs vs public transport.
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Re: The Economics of Cycling...

Postby rkelsen » Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:16 pm

jasonc wrote:I calculate costs vs public transport.

Yeah, me too. It makes the goal a bit harder to reach, but I'm getting there.
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Re: The Economics of Cycling...

Postby sogood » Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:23 pm

Like much of media, numbers are often inflated to support a point of view.

I too think the $8k/year fuel cost lacked authority unless one drives massive distances and on a gas guzzling SUV or old 6 cylinder engine.
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Re: The Economics of Cycling...

Postby sogood » Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:26 pm

JustJames wrote:Don't know where you fly, Concorde, but on my once-a-week commute between Chatswood and Dee Why, I greet every cyclist I see, and get barely an acknowledgement back. I don't expect a conversation...but a cheery "G'day!" or even a smile or wave would be nice.

Tough isn't it? You can't expect too much if you dress and ride per Mr Beans! ;)
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Re: The Economics of Cycling...

Postby jasonc » Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:40 pm

rkelsen wrote:
jasonc wrote:I calculate costs vs public transport.

Yeah, me too. It makes the goal a bit harder to reach, but I'm getting there.


I have the wonderful advantage of mine costing $9.54 per day :D

For this year: so by the time i get home today, I haven't spent $1564.56 because I've ridden.... let's not talk about how much I've spent
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Re: The Economics of Cycling...

Postby bychosis » Fri Oct 19, 2012 1:36 pm

I bought an old corolla as a second car, $1800, had it for two years and sold it for $1400 so there was virtually no depreciation and it still cost me $42/week for all costs over 2 years, filling up with fuel (40L) around once per month and doing 7500km/yr (I mostly cycle to work). I did mostly all my own servicing in that time and nothing major went wrong if you dont count a new battery. I was shocked how much it added up to given that it was only one tank per month.

As above cycling is nearly as expensive, but that is my fault for upgrading stuff. No upgrade = a couple of tubes and a set of tyres every now and then.
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Re: The Economics of Cycling...

Postby jasonc » Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:06 pm

bychosis wrote:As above cycling is nearly as expensive,


But as lizzy discussed above. I don't go to the gym, don't do Personal Training. I used to play golf but it was getting very expensive. At least with this hobby I can offset costs by riding to work. I had a look, there's only 13 days this year where I have used other transport to get to work. Earlier in the year because of horrific wet weather over a few days, but the rest can be accounted for with required trips before or after work (having to do an airport run).

I won't discuss all the health benefits (as this is an economics of cycling thread) ...I seem to recover from viruses/bugs quicker and therefore need less drugs...
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Re: The Economics of Cycling...

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:26 pm

A lot of the bieks and gear people seem to get could add up to more htan petrol!
However, for every dollar you spend on petrol, you probably need to add another (say) $1.50 to $2 for capital, rego, insurance and maintenance. Yes cars are very expensive. Of course, it could be even more economical to use public transport, though I imagine that a modestly priced $500 Giant or similar could still beat even that.

With the cost of running a private vehicle being the standout in terms of high holding and running costs, I prefer doing without the second car in sunny WA. If I was single then I would need both. If I did not ride then I also would need both.

I seem to be saving around $600 or $700 a year on fares (gross) and my gear, maintenance and stuff doesn't amount to much. However also spend around $2,500 a year at my coffee stop that I would not otherwise do. But these are marginal when compared to private vehicle usage.
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Re: The Economics of Cycling...

Postby Xplora » Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:33 pm

ColinOldnCranky wrote: However also spend around $2,500 a year at my coffee stop that I would not otherwise do. But these are marginal when compared to private vehicle usage.

In fairness, this is probably money that you'd spend anyway with a burgeoning social life... 50 bucks a week is nothing considering most people spend that on a quiet Friday at the pub... Your coffee shop must love seeing you :)
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Re: The Economics of Cycling...

Postby Comedian » Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:48 pm

You are all ignoring depreciation. It is by far and a way the biggest cost of car ownership for anyone that owns a newish car.

Say you spent 40k on a commodore which would not be at all uncommon. In three years time you would be very very lucky to get 15000 as a trade... Maybe you might get 20 privately.

In my opinion virtually anyone who runs a car less than 5 years old and not a car jn the super budget class would be paying at least 10 a year. When you take into account depreciation. Most would be more... And then there is the opportunity cost of having the car money not used for other things.

Unfortunately though most of those costs are relatively fixed even I you don't drive. The biggest saving is not having it at all.

We've calculated that if we drop the second car that will be one kid through private school...
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: The Economics of Cycling...

Postby PA » Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:51 pm

Xplora wrote:
ColinOldnCranky wrote: However also spend around $2,500 a year at my coffee stop that I would not otherwise do. But these are marginal when compared to private vehicle usage.

In fairness, this is probably money that you'd spend anyway with a burgeoning social life... 50 bucks a week is nothing considering most people spend that on a quiet Friday at the pub... Your coffee shop must love seeing you :)

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Re: The Economics of Cycling...

Postby jasonc » Fri Oct 19, 2012 3:06 pm

Comedian wrote:We've calculated that if we drop the second car that will be one kid through private school...

so who is the favourite?


could also pay for a titanium bike.... (did you get my email?)
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Re: The Economics of Cycling...

Postby bychosis » Fri Oct 19, 2012 4:32 pm

My cycling is more expensive because it is also a hobby, and the only thing I really spend my disposable income on. If the budget was tighter I'd have something second hand and only buy to replace worn or broken. I'd also only have one bike. As it stand my hobby is sitting at four rideable with plenty of parts.

Im sure that after a while I'll be able to confirm the depreciation costs of my current car, only had it a little while so far. Depreciation is the single reason I'll never have a new car, unless it is part of a salary arrangement.
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