Every now and then, you read an article or hear a story that makes you realize you’re an idiot. Someone claims something you do is ridiculous and at first, you’re pissed. Who are they to be making me feel dumb? But then you step back. You realize this person is completely right!
Happened to me last month when I found the Mr. Money Mustache blog. He breaks it down in “The True Cost of Commuting“. Driving is expensive. We do not think it’s expensive though and have no problem with firing up our ridiculous Ford F-250 Super Duty trucks and Toyota Sequoias for the shortest of trips. While the article focuses on those commuting crazy lengths to their office, it applies to anyone driving when they could be walking or biking or at least driving less.
Since I moved out in February I’ve lived across the street from my university It’s a 2 mile drive or about a mile walk. I’ve driven that route almost every day I had class. Sometimes making 2 or 3 trips on certain days of the week. Dumb Dumb Dumb.
How much cash driving robs you of:
Number of 1-way trips during the week:
Saturday: 2 (I usually work on campus at least one weekend day a week.)
Total: 16 one-way trips
That’s 32 miles a week (16 trips X 2 miles each).
I drive a mid 90s Ford Explorer. This
thing monstrosity achieves, at best, 23 MPG on the highway with extremely careful driving. My commute is not on the highway. Not even close. I have to mess with speed bumps, 2 stop signs, and a traffic light. I am accelerating almost the entire time. My Explorer’s MPG display shows I get close to 12 MPG on these trips.
32 miles / 12 MPG = 2.67 gallons of fuel used
At $3.50 a gallon, I would be spending $9.33 every week on driving my ass to school. That’s $37.33 a month. How many college students could use an additional $37 every month?
If you earn $8.20 an hour, like I do at my campus job, you’re working roughly 5 hours a month to pay for that gas. The situation is even worse if you’re unfortunate enough to be making minimum wage like many students.
Driving in situations like this is a huge waste of money. Luckily, Mr. Money Mustache gave me the heads up and I’m now free of the financial tyranny called commuting most days of the week!
Photo credit: David Guo Master