24x36" (x3) color posters
- Driving a gasoline powered car produces about 1 pound of carbon dioxide (CO2) per mile. (source)
- Manufacturing a car also produces CO2. Over the lifetime of the average car, the manufacturing "cost" is about 1.1 pounds of CO2 per mile. (source)
- Added together, this means that driving a car emits about 2.1 pounds of CO2 per mile.
- This also means that driving electric cars won’t save us. Without any fossil fuel consumption, a car still "emits" 1.1 pounds of CO2 per mile because of the pollution created through manufacturing.
- Riding a bicycle also uses fuel. Riding a bike burns calories. The more you exercise, the more you have to eat and food production has a CO2 impact.
- The average rider produces 0.06 pounds of CO2 emissions per mile by way of consuming more food. This number goes up if that extra food is meat. It goes down if that extra food is kale. (source)
- The CO2 "costs" of manufacturing a new bicycle are also about 0.06 pounds per mile. (source)
- So riding a bike produces about 0.12 pounds of CO2 per mile, about 5% of a car's 2.1 pounds.
- Walking burns almost 3 times as many calories per mile as bike riding. (source)
- With no manufacturing "costs" walking produces about 0.18 pounds of CO2 per mile. It takes more calories to walk a mile than to bike a mile. (The manufacturing cost of shoes was not factored into these numbers.)
MILES PER HOUR
- A car can travel 60 miles in an hour.
- A bicycle can cover 10 miles in an hour. (source)
- A pedestrian can travel about 4 miles an hour.
- Keep in mind that half of car trips taken by Americans are 3 miles or less (source) and that 10 miles gets you just about anywhere in Minneapolis/St. Paul.
Nerdwallet.com has a great cost calculator for car ownership that breaks down purchase price ($372), fuel costs ($146), insurance ($98), maintenance ($99), and other miscellaneous fees ($12) on a per month basis. Put in your own data to see your car's total costs each month. Better yet, use your own data to see your BIKE'S total costs each month.
- At Recovery Bike Shop we estimate the average customer spends $200 per year to commute by bicycle.
- That's $500 every five years to buy a "new" bike every five years
- plus $100 per year in maintenance for a moderate commuter.
- That's $1000 per five years or $200 per year.
- That's $16.67 per month.
- The average bike commuter consumes more calories than the average car commuter. The cost of that increased food consumption is something like $1.87 per day. (source)
- This means the food costs of bike commuting are $56.10 per month.
- So, the costs of owning and operating a bike are something like $72.77 per month.
- Of course, your health care costs will likely go down.
- Given that the "fuel" required for walking is three times that of biking on a per mile basis, we might surmise that the average walk-commuter must spend $168.30 per month on additional calories.
- However, it is probably less than this since a person that walks instead of bikes or drives is likely to cover fewer miles per day. We've assumed that the average walk-commuter travels something like half of the distance of a bike commuter each day.
- This brings the cost of walking as transportation down to about $85 per month. Actually pretty comparable to bike-commuting. Of course this says nothing about the costs of kicks.
These are the numbers reflected in the poster above. What the cost numbers don't show is that the average American drives 876 miles in a month. The average bike commuter comes no where near this. And walkers travel even less. So it is also helpful to look at these numbers on a per mile basis.
- The average gasoline powered car costs about $0.83 per mile (including gas, purchase price, insurance, etc.).
- The 2014 census says that the average bike commute is 19.3 minutes. (source)
- The average rider travels 11 miles per hour. (source)
- So the average commute is about 3.5 miles.
- Twice a day is 7 miles.
- Assume 5 days a week and 251 work days per year and we get 148 miles per month.
- Add another 102 miles (educated guess) for errands and riding to see friends and family and probably the average bike commuter puts on something like 250 miles per month.
- That's about $0.30 per bike mile. Again, most of that is in additional food consumption.