Saturday, December 30, 2006

Cost per Mile of Operating a Vehicle

In the midst of "torturing" my children today by making them clean up their rooms, I decided to sit on the couch and look up something that has been weighing on my mind for quite some time: "How much DOES it cost per mile to drive?" Well, the answers were both interesting and thought provoking at the same time.

I will let you do your own research into this area to make your own conclusions, but for somebody who drives 10,000 miles or less per year in their vehicle actually pays more per mile than somebody who drives considerably more when you figure in the operating costs and the ownership costs.

One site broke it down this way:
Operating Costs
Gas per mile multiplied by total miles drive equals total gas. Add to that the cost of maintenance and tires and you have total operating costs.
Ownership Costs
Adding Depreciation, insurance, taxes, license and registration, and finance charges gives you total ownership costs.
Other Costs
Washes, accessories, etc.
Adding Total Operating Costs to Ownership costs along with other costs gives you total driving costs. NOW, divide that by total miles driven and you have costs per mile.

With the above formula, I guarantee you that my costs per mile driven are really high for as little as I drive. Why did I research this in the first place? As you might have guessed, it's a little self-esteem builder for the cyclist. If by bike I can do most of my commuting, going to the dome to work out, going to the store, going to the recycling center, I like to feel good about it. What could possibly make you feel better than knowing that you are probably saving 50-75 cents per mile WHILE getting a good workout on top of it all?

Another site brought up the points I was hoping to see monitarily but wasn't sure I'd find a definitive answer, and I probably still haven't: The social cost. What about the amount of pollution I don't put out, the cost of road maintenance and upgrades, and not needing a parking space. One site I found that I think aimed at a much more urban setting than ours (talking about the cost of congestion, etc) had the cost of driving as high as $1.19 (

It's not that I needed an excuse to ride my bike to work and for errands, I was just hoping to put an approximate dollar amount on it for me and for anybody else who is interested. Food for well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, but you're talking about TOTAL (marginal+fixed) costs per mile of driving; to determine what you "save" by bicycling, you only look at the direct increases in marginal expenses (fuel, oil, some % of maintenance and depreciation, etc) that you would have incurred by driving instead.

Also, I've seen bicyclists talk about the cost of the gas, yet they forget they have to feed the "motor" of their bike! How much that costs is dependent on how high on the hog one eats.

Cycling is fun and healthy, but I'll never be able to bicycle as cheaply as I can ride my motorcycle the same distance.