Friday, October 21, 2011

Economics of Commuting...

Saving pedal by pedal.
Place: India
Flash back a few 10s of years, precisely the years when you were still listening to your mother telling about her mother.
Or move to out of city a few 10s of kilometers out of a small town or village.
Or to a school of kids where they are telling the story of the thirsty man who filled his pot of water, drop by drop.
Drop by drop. Yes the man got potful of life saving water drop by drop.
A farmers' wife saves for her family little by little. Season by season.
And grand mother carefully saved paisa(penny) by paisa over the years.

You must have got my point by now. This is how economy of cycling works. Little by little incrementally but certainly and if you are not convinced enough and tend to think that we in the times of today are earning enough that this meager daily sweating out is not big enough for us. Well true. Some of us might be earning good for now but the sad part is most of us aren't earning for ourselves. But for the builders, for the automobile companies and yeah most generously for the war funding oil companies.

I will leave the builders for now. Well I somewhat adore them. Alright if not adore I don't mind them. I will leave the wars also, cause I am not expert about them. I take on here you me and I make a economic picture of us with our dear automobiles.

The cost of commute:
Lets stop the stories and come to the point. Lets take on the cost of commute. The pennies which you are spending and probably will be able to save on your bike.
First the obvious and evident, fuel costs along with little less obvious the whole cost of ownership of our automobiles, which we tend to miss. Well I do not have many statistics but I did calculate it for myself.
I drive :
-almost 20 kms (around 12 miles) a day.
-not so fuel expensive two wheeler, which is about ~3 times more efficient than an efficient car.
-I have free parking available at office and residence.

So it turned out I am paying ~30000 INR a year for my motor bike. Well that's something for me. For instance if I had taken biking earlier, I could saved nearly INR 100,000 by now. And in 10 years I will be saving INR 300000, that's purely at today's worth, No interest, no price inflation. 

See it yourself:
If you want to calculate the costs for yourself, sure go ahead I have created a simple calculator (not sleek, But Hey!). No units in there. Go ahead use your units miles/kms, gallons/liters, $s/euros/rupees/horses/gold-coins whatever you prefer. There are a few nice calculator available online but they are mostly in dollors and calculate the costs automatically. I will post there links in the last of this article.

Cost Calculator

Daily Commute Distance:
Mileage Per Unit Fuel:
Fuel Price:
Number of Days to Commute in a Month:
Additional Commute in a Month:
Vehicle Servicing Cost Per Year
Parts replacements Cost Per Year
Depreciation Per Year
Insurance Per Year
Parking Per Month
Traffic Tickets Per Year
Other Costs Per Year
Total Cost Per Month:
Total Cost Per Year:
Total Cost Per Unit of Distance:

So that's about the direct costs. But wait, there is more.
A blog at [1] told me that cycling pays for itself. Sure enough sir. What about the gym costs you paid to do the tread-mill? and How about going to a park nearby for a leisure ride with your family, giving your kids some insights about traffic rules and etiquette? Saves a trip to a shopping mall or movie. And if you are using lesser of your car then you may switch to buy a less fancy one. Saves you big money, in one time.

 Like all good things Biking has cascading effects.
They tend to add up. Slowly but surely.
-Say I saved XX amount in 3 year. I can pay more down payment for my house (Hey Builders!), means lesser home loan + more repayment every year so go debt free quicker and younger.

-I saved on gym. Due to regular exercise I was more healthy. I worked with more productivity better than if I was unfit. We all know what good performance at work can mean? Don't we. 
-"According to a research in UK. Cyclists take more than one lesser sick leave a year. Means enables you live your life one more day." As quoted by a research.

There are plenty such and I am sure we got the point here. So we have to do is :Bike Up!!!

References and other insightful posts:
  1. Get Rich... with Bikes 
  2. A calculator
  3. Benefits of Bicycling

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