I drive a lot, and quite honestly, I take my car for granted. It has gotten me to Florida, Washington DC, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and countless other places. I love my car (Taurus X), so of course, Ford decided to not make it anymore.
Until recently, I didn’t really think much about driving, I just hopped in the car and off I went. However, this week I was thinking about how I could reduce my driving somewhat when I was reading an article written by Little House over at the Wise Bread website. The article mainly focused on using a bike for smaller commutes, and I started wondering how much I could save by riding a bike or walking instead of jumping in the car for every errand.
So I started surfing the internet to try and get a number for how much it costs to drive a car per mile. I know the IRS pays 50 cents a mile, but I wanted more specific information. I then visited a AAA website that is based on 2010 data.
The table provided by AAA breaks down the cost by how many miles are driven per year, and the size of the car. I drive a large sedan, and I drive in excess of 20,000 miles per year, so my per mile rate is estimated at 58.6 cents a mile. That isn’t bad compared to how much it costs to drive a 4WD SUV for only 10,000 miles a year, as that cost is almost 97 cents a mile.
So, if I rode my bike or walked 5 miles a day instead of driving, I would save approximately $3.00 a day, or $90.00 a month. However, if I was driving that SUV, I would save almost $150.00 a month. Not to mention all the health benefits of walking or riding a bike.
I would totally ride my bike a lot more if our city was built to safely ride a bike. However, some of our streets do not have sidewalks, and there are major roads all over the place. I get real nervous trying to cross the street while distracted drivers are chatting on their cell phones and turning right on red and such. However, I think I am going to try to ride my bike more for nearby errands that I can safely get to.
In addition, I have also been using my car less by sitting and waiting for my kid’s sports practice to end instead of rushing back home to take care of this or that. Instead, I spend that time reading a book or clipping/sorting coupons. It is my personal downtime, and it is actually quite enjoyable. I am letting go of the guilt of feeling like I need to be productive every second of the day. That alone keeps 20 miles off my car a day (approximately).
Are there ways you could reduce your driving? Or, do you already drive minimally as it is?