Energy Mileage of Cycling vs. iCar

I was biking to work, thinking about how silly it is that we think of “fuel mileage” when my bike uses no fuel. How can we accurately compare its mileage (which should be kilometerage, to keep up with the times), when fuel driven vehicles, and electric vehicles don’t have common terms with cycling through person-power.

Previously I calculated how much I’ve saved in biking to work.


I’m going to update with the latest numbers. I started these calculations in September, and am picking it back up in February. Wow, gas prices have changed, they are only 78¢/L right now! (Picking this back up again on St. Patrick’s Day, gas is 84.1¢/L.)

Now, on March 18, 2016:

Bike odometer
2216km these past 2 years on my bike (~25km on another of mine).

If I was paying for a car for myself, that’s about $8000/year, CAA estimates. That includes ownership, depreciation, gas, insurance, repairs, parking, (fines?), oil changes, tires, etc.

What about a dreamy car situation though, where you only pay for the basics and need no repairs and get no tickets?

Gas is $0.841/L today at most Regina stations. (Last month it was $0.78 in Regina.)

If my imaginary car (i-car) got a whopping 6L/100km. I’d have had to fill it with 6L * (2216km/100km) = 133L of fuel.
$0.841/L * 133L = $111.85 in unburned gasoline. (Actually this number is too low, because gas is cheaper now than throughout the last 2 years.)

If my i-car cost $1000/year to plate/register that’s (1000/12=>$83/month * 24 months = $2000)

If i-car’s lease payment is $99 biweekly (as many ads suggest right now):
$99 payment * 48 payments = $4752 (incidentally $600 is a nifty new bicycle with bells {and whistles, as I bike by}.)

If i-car was parked at work that would be, including GST, $40.55/month
($486.60 * 2) = $973.20

If oil is changed every 6 months, that’s $45 * 4 changes = $180

$112 gas + $2000 plate/registration + $4752 lease + $973 parking + $180 oil = $8017 for 24 months of owning and using i-car in the most affordable way possible (no repairs, or fines, or extra parking charges).

$8017 i-car – $600 (+ $100 in upgrades and maint’) bike = $7317 saved in only 24 months.

Over the next six months, the bike should need $30 input, while the i-car would need another ($99*12 + $45 oil + $243.30 parking + $50 gas) = ~$1526.30, increasing my 30 month savings to $8843.

Why aren’t more people clamoring for better bike infrastructure? If you can ditch your car, you can very realistically save ~$7100 within the first 2 years, while getting exercise and feeling good as you sail past traffic jams. I hop on the bus once in a while with my bike to avoid the rain. I bought about $150 of rides, and haven’t used them up in this time.

Regina doesn’t invest much into biking.

ADDED: A great video by a cycle commuter


About John Klein

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