Yowzers! I don’t generally pay attention to these kinds of things so I had to do a double take (and then some quick conversions for my silly American mind to comprehend it) when I saw the price of gas is now at $2.17 per liter. And people are still driving?!
As I imagine anyone with a car would do, I started wondering what kind of savings the average Kiwi driver could accrue by ditching the car, even for just a few days a week. Well, thanks to the NZ Transport Agency, I didn’t have to do the math. Their site, Fuel$aver, provides a nice little resource for folks looking to 1) cut back on their fuel costs; 2) find a more efficient vehicle; or 3) convince drivers that maybe they might want to pull their dusty bikes out of the shed.
According to the site, the “typical New Zealand driver” who covers about 14,000 km per year, driving briskly with windows down, in a car with average efficiency will spend approximately $3,460 per year on fuel. Add in daily trips to take the kids to school and trips around town to do chores and the cost goes up to $3,700. But, what about cutting out a daily trip or two? A driver who makes only trips around town 2-3 times per week can cut her costs to $1,230 per year. That’s a really impressive savings.
After checking out the fuel costs of the average taxi driver, I started fantasizing a bit about undercutting that entire (swamped) market here in Wellington with a little pedicab action. Now, to find customers who don’t mind missing their flights due to my leisurely pace around Evans Bay. A girl can dream.
I know a lot of us cyclists out there may wish for the day when everyone leaves their cars at home ALL the time. But, well, baby steps. Cars are convenient, even if occasionally scary to us as we hug the curb and say our prayers, and they continue to occupy a place in our current reality. As more of us opt to self-propel around town, I think we’ll start to find new and welcome company as others make the same choice. And, in time, as fuel prices continue to rise, maybe it will be the cars that collect the dust in the shed while the bikes are out cruising the town. Until then, doesn’t it just seem like a really good idea to sock away the $2,000 you could save in fuel costs for something way cooler (and better smelling) than gas?