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The True Cost Of Car Commuting To Work (Hint: It’s A Lot More Than You Think)

(by guest blogger:
Anastasia Ivanov)

If you live in Boulder, you know that it costs an arm and a leg to get by here.  Right now, the median value of a home in the City of Boulder is listed at $675,100 ($410 per square foot).

What if you could afford to buy into or rent in the Boulder market just by riding a bicycle to work instead of driving a car?

Driving to work actually may be costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars per year.  It is estimated that for each mile you live from your workplace, you spend $170 in car expenses every year, including gas, oil, maintenance tiers and depreciation.  You also have to account for lost time; if you make $25 per hour and you are using that to calculate the cost of your commuting time, each mile you live from work adds up to another $625 per year.  That is a total of $795 per mile every year.

Riding a bicycle removes the car expenses entirely from the equation, and depending on the routes available, may actually reduce the time you spend commuting as well.

Here’s the thing…if you commute 11 miles over a 30-year career, you could actually be throwing the equivalent of $1,000,000 down the drain.  How so?  If you took the money you spent on that 11 mile commute, added back the value of the time you spend commuting – and invested it – that’s how much money you’d have at the end of 30 years. That savings would certainly help you enter the Boulder housing market. It could also put you on the path for an early retirement.

You can visualize how this works by checking out this infographic from InvestmentZen. There’s no denying that the cost of living in Boulder County are high, but the savings from switching from commuting by car to riding a bike to work may put renting or buying well within your grasp. 

2017-03-06T09:42:03+00:00