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SVOboy 05-08-2012 03:40 PM

Infinity Miles Per Gallon
 
Question: What can you do to absolutely minimize your fuel use?     Answer: Don’t drive a car. (You peaked at the picture header, didn’t you!?) As much time and effort as we all put into making our cars and trucks more efficient, its easy to forget that even at their absolute best, a motorized [...]

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Frank Lee 05-08-2012 03:41 PM

Naw, I probably peaked a couple decades ago.

ProDarwin 05-08-2012 05:43 PM

If you look at efficiency in terms of $/mile, a bike is not much more efficient than a car. Less efficient than some in fact.

Still fun and healthy though.

botsapper 05-08-2012 05:50 PM

Off the Grid,

but some couldn't help it - those eco-hipsters need their Wal-Mart.

Off the Grid : Eric Valli

GRU 05-08-2012 09:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ProDarwin (Post 306000)
If you look at efficiency in terms of $/mile, a bike is not much more efficient than a car. Less efficient than some in fact.

Still fun and healthy though.

Can you explain?

Frank Lee 05-08-2012 09:58 PM

Must figure car drivers don't eat.

ProDarwin 05-08-2012 10:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Frank Lee (Post 306047)
Must figure car drivers don't eat.

Not as much as someone biking. Getting to work would burn >500 calories. Eating cheap (taco bell) that will cost me a little over $1. Eating healthy, it would cost me much more. Also, commute time is 45mins-1 hour

Driving to work in my car that gets only 32mpg would cost me... a little over $1. A more efficient car would be less. Commute time is ~20 minutes.

So the cost for fuel is the same, and the bike takes longer to get places.

Don't get me wrong, I like biking. I plan on biking to work often if I am able to do so this summer (may be switching jobs), and I often go mountain biking on tuesday nights and weekends.

Frank Lee 05-08-2012 10:15 PM

Better do a more thorough cents/mile analysis...

Piwoslaw 05-09-2012 02:45 AM

Before we go too far off topic:
Bicycling wastes gas?

niky 05-09-2012 05:29 AM

The miles per dollar analysis ignores the huge upfront cost investment in a motor vehicle, the huge annopual insurance and maintenance costs and the fact that you will still burn calories while driving.

In fact, most cost-per-mile analyses assume you're cycling briskly. You can lower the caloric consumption per mile by simply cycling slower and more effectively.

I once spent an entire year walking several miles a day to school, and my typical Western-style diet had so many excess calories in it that my food costs didn't increase at all, which saved me a pretty bundle in commuting costs. And walking is much less energy efficient than cycling. Also terribly time inefficient.

ProDarwin 05-09-2012 07:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by niky (Post 306089)
The miles per dollar analysis ignores the huge upfront cost investment in a motor vehicle, the huge annopual insurance and maintenance costs and the fact that you will still burn calories while driving.

I did neglect insurance cost. However, if you drive AT ALL, you need insurance.

Maintenance costs are a factor, although thats why I said some cars. Last year I sold a car that cost me less than 1cent/mile in maintenance. I'm on track to have extremely low maintenance costs on my current daily driver when I sell it as well.

And in regards to calories burnt driving... my BMR is 1960 calories. In 20 minutes of driving I'll burn around 30 cals - almost insignificant compared with the 500+ biking to work.

The link above is interesting and shows the huge variation in calories/dollar. Unfortunately I eat low carb, which eliminates all of the high calorie/dollar foods except peanut butter.

JacobAziza 05-09-2012 11:02 PM

But the other thing you are neglecting is the medical bills you pay if you go a lifetime getting no exercise.
Assuming you do exercise, you can combine said exercise with your commute, and then you are burning no additional calories. In that way you are also not taking up any additional time from your day.

Frank Lee 05-09-2012 11:21 PM

I always found it funny to see people drive to the gym... then proceed to drive everywhere, for everything, like 2 blocks to the store, or get a ride home because it got dark, or whatever. The best ones are those that circle, circle, and circle again the parking lot at the gym for the closest spot. :rolleyes:

JacobAziza 05-10-2012 07:56 AM

Those are generally the same people who, once inside, spend the entire "workout" walking on a treadmill.
But its worth the monthly dues, because they couldn't watch TV while walking if they weren't at the gym!

ProDarwin 05-10-2012 11:48 AM

Yeah, the oddballs that drive to the gym and hunt for the closest spot are a bit weird.

Quote:

Originally Posted by JacobAziza (Post 306300)
But the other thing you are neglecting is the medical bills you pay if you go a lifetime getting no exercise.
Assuming you do exercise, you can combine said exercise with your commute, and then you are burning no additional calories. In that way you are also not taking up any additional time from your day.

I don't think its that black and white. I do exercise besides biking - I lift weights (full Olympic set in my basement - no need to drive anywhere). I can't combine that with my commute, and there is no way biking will accomplish the same thing :)

I'm sure we could debate this all day, I was just pointing out that biking isn't nearly as free as people like to think it is.

niky 05-11-2012 05:34 AM

500 calories a day, in terms of cost, as long as you cook yourself, is a drop in the bucket compared To the upfront cost of a car... And as I said, most estimates of calories burned assume you're cycling briskly. In cycling, as in driving, slower is more efficient.

TheEnemy 05-11-2012 11:14 AM

When I ride to work I pack 4 sandwiches instead of 3, because I know I will be hungrier.

JacobAziza 05-11-2012 01:42 PM

Lets put some hard numbers on it.

MMM has already done most of the math for us.

Lets say 6 mile commute. Average sized human, going about 12mph, for 30 min is about 250 calories. Cycling - Calories Burned Bike Riding
500 calories (in the form of food made from home) should cost about 38 cents
Killing your $1000 Grocery Bill | Mr. Money Mustache

Driving a reasonably efficient car, considering only per mile costs, is about 17 cents per mile The True Cost of Commuting | Mr. Money Mustache
Which is just over a dollar for the 6 miles.

So, that makes biking over 60% cheaper, even if you don't factor in the exercise (no, it doesn't take the place of strength training, but it does take the place of aerobic), or the fixed costs of buying and insuring a car.

So, yeah, actually, I admit that's a much smaller gap than I imagined. But its still cheaper, and the health benefits and the possibility of going totally carless (or, of having only one car in a household with 2 drivers, instead of a car for each) push it over the top into being very worthwhile looking into it as a good way to get around.

ecomodded 05-11-2012 01:54 PM

Realistically, *most* people would burn off their excess fat, gain muscle and lower their blood pressure. As a bonus you can enjoy larger meals :) and stay fit.

JacobAziza 05-14-2012 09:12 PM

For anyone who got a 404 error when trying to read the blog in question, its back up now

Infinity Miles Per Gallon

JacobAziza 05-14-2012 09:18 PM

I posted the same cost per mile analysis on the Mr Money Mustache board, and someone pointed out something important I had neglected in my numbers:

"I think you shouldn't be looking at the absolute calories burned when biking, but rather, the calorie differential between biking and whatever other activity the person would be doing, since we burn calories even when sleeping. From the same source, "Police, driving a squad car" burns 141 calories/hour (no mention if that includes donut-eating), so if you ride your bike instead of drive for that half hour, the calorie differential is only 180 calories, not 250 (this is good news for the people trying to save money by biking, but bad news for those trying to lose weight!) That brings the cost of the extra calories down to 27 cents.

Then, removing the "6 miles" from the numbers to simplify it, we arrive at 4.5 cents/mile for cycling fuel, and 17 cents/mile for driving costs."

Of course with that we are still assuming that the biking is an additional activity.
If we assume that a person is going to get some form of aerobic exercise regardless, and that they substituted biking to work for, say recreational running, then they aren't using any additional calories at all. Then, compared to the 17 cents a mile, it costs $520 a year to drive, vs $0 to bike which is reasonably substantial savings.

ProDarwin 05-15-2012 10:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JacobAziza (Post 307272)
so if you ride your bike instead of drive for that half hour, the calorie differential is only 180 calories, not 250 (this is good news for the people trying to save money by biking, but bad news for those trying to lose weight!) That brings the cost of the extra calories down to 27 cents.

Except that even in traffic, you'll travel much farther in a car than on a bike in 30 minutes :) My commute would be ~1 hour by bike, 20 minutes by car.

JacobAziza 05-15-2012 10:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ProDarwin (Post 307333)
Except that even in traffic, you'll travel much farther in a car than on a bike in 30 minutes :) My commute would be ~1 hour by bike, 20 minutes by car.

1) depends on how far you have to go, and how bad traffic is. It isn't always a given that driving is faster

2) I was only trying to address the actual cost; one issue at a time

3) The same opportunity cost question applies to time as it does to extra calories: we need some form of exercise to stay healthy. If you drive to work, then you need to spend 30 mins running or at the gym some other time during the day - 50 minutes total. If you bike, in that hour you got both done at once, so instead of taking up an extra 40 minutes, it only took an extra 10.

If you are traveling about 15 miles each way, at 17 cents a mile, that $5.10 a day you save for that 10 minutes, the equivalent of $40 an hour (pre tax),
you know what they say, time is money. It works both ways.

ProDarwin 05-15-2012 11:19 AM

Indeed, time is money... sometimes. I find it funny when MMM posts articles suggesting that commuting time directly translates to money (~$25/hr in his blog), yet doesn't seem to take that into account when comparing biking to driving. Just the $25/hr rate would mean biking would cost me $50 a day in commuting costs, vs. $20 in a car (time + 0.17/mile)

FWIW, driving to work is 40 mins round trip for me, biking would be approx. 2 hours. I can drive and do my heavy-lifting workout at home and still have 30 minutes extra free time than if I were to bike to work. (and this doesn't account for the fact that biking is not a substitute for weight lifting).

From the time perspective, it boils down to how much you personally value your time.

LeanBurn 05-15-2012 11:58 AM

I walk when ever I can. I walked a mile each way to work for years no matter the weather. It wasn't difficult at all. Took an extra 10 mins. I biked to work 7 miles each way for years as well from early spring to late fall. I found I ate less and better foods, drink a lot more water and stayed in shape resulting in more energy. Funny thing is it only cost me 5 extra mins.

I know people that drive literally for 1/2 block to get to work. I can't wrap my head around it. They could get to work faster by walking its only a few extra steps...when you consider entrance and exit time from the vehicle, vehicle parking and reversing...I just don't get it. Not to mention its really hard on the car to have such a short cycle.

ecomodded 05-15-2012 12:24 PM

Only on the nice days but
sometimes travel with my bike in the car, then once I reach a free parking spot, park and ride the rest of the way.
The parking fees can really hurt the economy of your trip. $2 to $3 bucks a hour or $5 to $10 a day on a fairly short commute and you just blew the economy of the trip.

niky 05-15-2012 02:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LeanBurn (Post 307350)
I found I ate less and better foods, drink a lot more water and stayed in shape resulting in more energy. Funny thing is it only cost me 5 extra mins.

This is what bugs me when people adamantly insist that biking or walking will cost them extra in food.

I was a runner for several years, and I biked a lot. Our high-meat western lifestyle means that we already take in many more calories than we need to simply go to work and sit down at a computer every day. The excess is MUCH MORE than enough to fuel your commute. And losing weight and increasing metabolic activity make you leaner and more energy-efficient. When I was running, I'd often have to remind myself to eat more, simply because I got used to eating a lot less.

It would be a different story if you actually lowered your caloric intake (below 2000 calories) when not exercising... but really... who (besides anorexic supermodels) does that?

ProDarwin 05-15-2012 03:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by niky (Post 307383)
It would be a different story if you actually lowered your caloric intake (below 2000 calories) when not exercising... but really... who (besides anorexic supermodels) does that?

A lot of people do?

Right now I'm approx 182lbs and 10% body fat. In December I was almost 190lbs and similar body fat(didn't have calipers at the time). Due to a wrist injury (Triangular fibrocartilage complex tear) I wasn't able to lift for about 12 weeks. My intake dropped almost immediately, and I don't count calories. I was down to 174lbs when I started lifting again.

4000-4500 calories/day costs more than 3000-3500 calories/day. That part is fact.

Your argument seems to imply that we all are already fat or over-eating.

JacobAziza 05-15-2012 03:08 PM

He should have said "anorexic supermodels AND serious bodybuilders."
Everyone always forgets about bodybuilders when talking about people with abnormally low bodyfat. (No disrespect implied, I'm trying for 10% bodyfat, and it ain't easy!)

The majority of Americans ARE overweight, and DO eat too much, so his general argument has some merit, even if it was too over-reaching

niky 05-15-2012 03:12 PM

And 3000 calories a day is more than 2000.

You're spending those calories to build muscles. Not to bike. A runner or biker doesn't eat ungodly amounts of protein to build extra muscle mass that will just slow him down.

Different strokes.

ProDarwin 05-15-2012 03:12 PM

Ehh, I wouldn't call 10% bodybuilder :)

I agree that most are overweight. Most could use a little more exercise as well. I was just (again) pointing out that commuting on a bike isn't free, even if you discount time.

I still intend to commute on a bike this summer (once we get shower access @ work), purely for the recreational/health benefits - not in an attempt to save money. I will probably alternate home workouts/biking to work to maintain my free time after work.

ProDarwin 05-15-2012 03:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by niky (Post 307394)
And 3000 calories a day is more than 2000.

You're spending those calories to build muscles. Not to bike. A runner or biker doesn't eat ungodly amounts of protein to build extra muscle mass that will just slow him down.

Different strokes.

Apples to oranges. Compare biking to work to driving to work. There will be a large difference in calories.

niky 05-15-2012 11:00 PM

Undoubtedly... was just wondering if it would make a discernible difference in terms of overall dietary requirements... I guess that depends on how far you have to go.... typically, my walking/biking routes (for work or school) were only a few miles... it would probably be much different if it were a ten mile commute one way.

Interestingly, it's very hard to find concrete figures for how many calories are needed to bike at various paces from one source... because the calculations will vary widely from person to person... but for your purposes, this might come in handy:

http://www.infinitnutrition.us/libra...20Calories.pdf

Amazing how the total calories plateau if you graph that out from 15-17 mph over a set distance, though that might be partially due to rounding error in the figures... besides... this is triathlon pace... if you're biking to commute only, you will more likely be moving at 10 mph, where you'll be using 30% less (from what I can gather elsewhere).

Of course... you'll probably want to be going a fair bit faster than that! :D

Frank Lee 06-08-2012 12:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ProDarwin (Post 307333)
Except that even in traffic, you'll travel much farther in a car than on a bike in 30 minutes :) My commute would be ~1 hour by bike, 20 minutes by car.

I have a nice shortcut available to me on bicycle that is off limits to cars. Driving time vs riding time for me was mere minutes.

NeilBlanchard 06-08-2012 08:55 AM

I've ridden my bicycle over 50 miles so far this year, in lieu of driving. It is already getting easier, but it is hard to do when it rains -- which has been a lot lately...

I wish I had a Quest velomobile!

JacobAziza 06-08-2012 03:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Frank Lee (Post 311184)
I have a nice shortcut available to me on bicycle that is off limits to cars. Driving time vs riding time for me was mere minutes.

When I was a bike messenger in SF, our company would guarantee any delivery within the city that required a van to be delivered within 2 hours of the time the client called.
If it could be done by bicycle, we could guarantee delivery within 15 minutes.

ProDarwin 06-11-2012 11:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Frank Lee (Post 311184)
I have a nice shortcut available to me on bicycle that is off limits to cars. Driving time vs riding time for me was mere minutes.

Yeah, that helps. I have a shortcut like that, but it doesn't help on the way to work :( Biking is still about 1.5 miles longer.

Frank Lee 06-11-2012 03:52 PM

Before they built that walking bridge (my shortcut) I mixed it up with the cars using the exact same route as I would driving. Still was mighty close to the same trip time.


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