A recent post on Cyclelicio.us discussed the economics of car commuting as a function of personal time.
James Schwartz at the Urban Country figures car ownership costs the average American about two hours a day — that works out to about 500 hours each year to buy, insure, and maintain a car. Compare with the 20% recommended for transportation costs by financial planners and the 13% the US Bureau of Labor Statistics says Americans spend on transportation (2009 numbers).
The difference between an hour and two hours might seem like a lot — but compare that against the four minutes Schwartz figures we spend to buy and care for a $1500 commuter bicycle.
The most astonishing thing about this information is that, until now, I haven’t found an excuse to post this video from the Canadian band Metric performing their song Handshakes.
The song is basically Schwartz’ research set to music, including this poignant refrain:
Buy this car to drive to work
Drive to work to pay for this car
(Repeat a zillion times)
This music might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the video and lyrics are safe for work–unless you get carried away and start throwing furniture around. Commute by Bike takes no responsibility for the consequences of your headbanging.