Cost of owning a car? About $22.50 per day

Cost of owning a bike? About $.95 per day.

Where are we getting these numbers? From this article that appeared in the NYTimes Wheels blog. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, US households (or consumer units as the BLS so endearingly calls them), spend an average of $8,220 per year on transportation excluding transit, taxis and air travel or $22.50 a day. Moreso, the average family making about $63,000 (pre-tax) and owning about two cars spends more on transportation each year than healthcare, clothing, and entertainment combined which account for over $7,400 of their budget. That’s a lot to spend on cars to say the least.

The cost of owning a bike? Paul Steely White of Transportation Alternatives in NYC gives the estimate a shot:

Mr. White estimated that the annual cost of owning a bicycle is $390. The average “consumer unit” contains 2.5 people, so family bike ownership runs $975.

The $390 annual cost, Mr. White estimated in an e-mail message, includes $200 for maintenance, $60 for replacement and upkeep of helmets and other accessories, $60 for the bike itself (a tenth the cost of a $600 commuter bike with an estimated 10-year life span) and $70 for theft and replacement of seats, wheels and other core components “since this is New York.”

So since Pittsburgh’s theft rate is nowhere close to NY’s, let’s cut $45 off the replacement costs. What do you get? about 95 cents a day to own and operate a bike. Not a bad way to save some money.


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