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Sierra Daily

Oct 13, 2011

Biking Will Make You Rich

Biking-chicagoThose of us who are smart lucky enough to already commute by bike know how pleasant and invigorating it is--not to mention saving the planet and all that. But here comes Lifehacker's Mr. Money Mustache to lay out how it will also make us rich. His thesis in a nutshell:

It is ridiculous to commute by car to work if you realize how expensive it is to drive, and if you value your time at anything close to what you get paid.

If you want the full rundown read M3's post, but here's the short-attention-span version. First figure out how much it costs to drive. The IRS makes it $0.51/mile, a cheapskate could do it for 17 cents per, so split the difference and say $0.34. As for your time, the median wage for a suburban commuter is around $25/hour. Assuming 6 minutes per mile, M3 works that out to $795 in annual commuting costs: $170 for the mileage and $625 for your time. That's PER MILE.

$795 per year will pay the interest on $15,900 of house borrowed at a 5% interest rate. In other words, a logical person should be willing to pay about $15,900 more for a house that is one mile closer to work, and $477,000 more for a house that is 30 miles closer to work. For a double-commuting couple, these numbers are $31,800 and $954,000.

Choosing a job and a place to live so that you do not have to commute by car, M3 concludes, "is probably the biggest single boost that will get the average person from poverty to financial independence over a reasonable period of time." Of course, no one is going to hand you $795 for every mile you don't drive, cycling takes time too, jobs are scarce, and most car commuters pay the price in reduced quality of life. But just try some time convincing a bicycle commuter that she'd be better off driving--it just ain't going to happen.

Paul Rauber

Image by iStock

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