There are lots of ways to save money, even though human brains seem hard wired to waste as much of it as possible. According to a report from the American Public Transportation Association, if you live in New York City you could save almost $14,000 a year just by using public transportation.
In fact, if APTA is to be believed, Americans living in 20 of the nations largest cities could save an average of $9,242 a year if they ditched the car, and just rode public transportation. Sounds pretty good, right?
The study took the average cost of gasoline, $2.759, based on driving 15,000 miles a year, and figured in the cost for parking. Then they compared it to the average cost of an unlimited monthly public transportation pass. This study is only effective for people who live in cities, where public transportation is prevalent, and they charge you a fee to park a car… which I think is absurd. I’ll walk the extra few blocks just to find free parking. But most of the country still doesn’t have ready access to cheap, clean public transportation, unless the Department of Transportation really starts picking up speed.
What this study doesn’t seem to take into account is that in cities like New York, public transportation fees are on the rise. Also, what happens if you want to, you know, leave the city? I’m a country boy at heart, so maybe I just don’t understand, but cities never really appealed to me. What if you have family in another state, or you just want to get away from the hustle and bustle for a weekend? Are you going to take a taxi? No, you’ll probably rent a car, and that can get expensive. It is great that in the city, you can walk most places, not have to deal with traffic, and whatever else city dwellers think is great about the city. And I’m willing to believe that taking public transportation will save you money in the long run. But $9,000 a year or more?
The goal of getting more people out of their cars and on to buses, subways and the like is a noble one. I agree with that completely. It will ease congestion, reduce the carbon footprint of our nation, and for many people it probably will save money. But public transportation simply isn’t available in many parts of the country, especially for us simple country folk. We don’t have any option other than cars. And I know cars aren’t cheap. AAA estimates that a medium-sized sedan (think Ford Fusion) driving 15,000 miles a year costs about 54 cents per mile. That is if you factor in depreciation, fuel, registration fees, maintenance, and all the other costs that come with car ownership, but not including car loans. It costs $5.40 to go ten miles. If you’re like most Americans and commute about 40 miles a day to and from work, it costs you $21.60 a day, $108 a week, just to get to work.
Kind of mind blowing, isn’t it?
But at least I don’t have to wait for the bus.