Does Car + Bike = A Good Thing?

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Besides gaining ultra-buff legs, many ‘part-time’ bike commuters end up with an extra  $12,400 at the end of the year.

Earlier this month, I wrote a piece about how Rush Hour can Save you Money, it compared a typical Silicon Valley commute using a car, and the same commute using a bicycle. At the end of the article, a breakdown of costs was provided.

A Twitter re-posting in several different languages followed the article, and many readers found it compelling proof that you don’t need to completely replace your car with a bicycle in order to see immense benefits. Part-time bicycle commuters come away all the better through increased health and cost-savings.

Today, we’re spelling the results out in visual form. The graph below illustrates the average cost of car ownership vs. bicycle ownership over the span of 1 year. We concede of course, that the average bike owner will also need a car on occasion, so we tack on the the bicycle-rider’s budget, around 5,000 miles worth of car rental travel through the ZIP Car service.

Perhaps surprising to many, the bike+rental car still come out on top by far…

The Cost of Your Commute | Car vs. Bicycle and Zip Car (illustration, Patrick Lydon | sociecity)

The Cost of Your Commute | Car vs. Bicycle and Zip Car (illustration, Patrick Lydon | sociecity)

How did we come up with these numbers? Check out Calculating the Savings.


Can Rush Hour Save you Money? – sociecity
ZIP Car – urban car sharing / rental
Contact Your City Leaders –
Map You Bike Route – Google Maps for Bikes
Physical Activity and Public Health – Journal of the American Heart Association
The Cost of Being Obese – USA Today