Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Money pit

With gas prices hovering near $4.00 and I pesimistically assume they'll go higher, it's time for change. While I actually do use my truck for more than just basic transportation on a regular basis, I can and should give it a rest for basic commuting duty. My vehicle commute amounts to 20 minutes and 8.5 miles one way on a daily basis. My bike commute runs about 9 miles and takes 35-40 minutes depending on several factors.

I spent some time running gobs of numbers since I love to geek out on that kind of stuff. I ran various options of adding on a more fuel efficient car, buying a commuter bike, buying a scooter, or buying a scooter and commuter bike. The biggest influence in the numbers was plugging a guesstimate on how much time I'd use one of the other forms of conveyance versus my truck. Obviously a car would be used the most and the bike would be the least used. While I love biking, I haven't fallen in love with commuting just yet. As we have no shower facilities in my office, I'm mostly required to be dress casual (nice jeans and polo type shirt), and I don't necessarily enjoy having to dress a certain way to ride in only to change again at the office, it makes it difficult for me to commit to commuting by bike only. As I ran the numbers, I amortized them out over a 5 year period because it was the only way to give the new car a fair shake on cost.

The car being the most useful still lost out on the cost analysis as it would cost me roughly $1200 over the 5 years. The scooter was actually the best cost savings as I'd be more likely to use it than a bike alone and showed a savings of roughly $7000. The bike only option was next in line at $6200 and the bike/scooter combination came in third at $6000. All of these are actual savings based on 5 years of usage and purchasing new equipment has all ready been taken out of the costs. How can I save so much? Easy, I drive a vehicle that averages 11 MPG year round and put roughly 13,000 miles per year on it. At $4 per gallon, it doesn't take long to add up.

Although I'm a frugal person (read cheap bastard) for the most part, I also recognize where I can take advantage of certain situations to buy something I've had my eye on. This particular situation would normally dictate I go buy a scooter and keep on trucking. Now that wouldn't quite be fair in the light of how much I'm enjoying my cycling, so why not take the opportunity to save money yet increase my bike count by 1 as well?! Evil genious I tell you. Sometimes I amaze even myself. Stay tuned for a rundown of some bike(s) and scooters I'm considering. Feel free to post up recommendations if you like.

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