Saving money on gas, who doesn’t want to? For those of you who have a nice balanced budget, the rising gas costs mean more and more of your salary goes straight down into the gas tank. I’m going to put good odds on your HR department not giving you a raise just to cover the costs of your commuting, though that’d be nice and all. So what are the options you have?
1) Ride the bus
2) Bike to work
4) Hybrid car
These are great options if they are available or feasible…the problem is these options are often unavailable. How many people have buses, subways, or carpools near them. These are also inflexible. Biking to work is great, if you live close enough and have the time…but many don’t. Hybrid car is a little better but they can be expensive, harder to maintain, and won’t necessarily promise great gas mileage.
I have another option, but its not for the timid. Buy a motorcycle. I know, the personal finance readers might not be the most likely to go running out and buy a motorcycle, but hear me out on this.
The average American will spend $1700 this year on gas to commute to work. At an average of 3.20/gallon that means the average American filling up an average of 531.25 gallons. With the average fuel economy being 17 miles/gallon that means we are commuting 9031.25 miles back and forth to work every year. So follow my logic here…the average motorcycle gets 35-60 miles per gallon. For this purpose lets use 49 mpg. So lets divide that those 9031 miles by 49. Instead of 531 gallons of gas, that is 184 gallons per year. Multiply that by $3.20 and that is $589. So total saved is $1111.
I have a ’79 Honda 450CMT as shown to the right. It is a smaller half cruiser and I have neglected it for the past year or so, but with gas prices rising I figured I would do a price comparison for myself to see what I save riding it around instead of driving my Z. So first lets figure my miles. Actually I know my miles because I can calculate from my Z. My commute and daily driving comes out to about 14,000 miles a year. My motorcycle also happens to get great gas milage due to its smaller engine (450 cc). I get 63 miles to the gallon. My Z gets about 17 miles per gallon. Another factor is that my Z requires premium, and when I say requires, I mean requires…it starts knocking if I put in mid grade whereas my motorcycle runs on regular unleaded. Lets do the math.
Z: 14000 / 17 = about 823 gallons of gas. Now multiply that by the cost of gas at my local station, 823* 3.37 = $2773.51
Motorcycle: 14000 / 63 = about 222 gallons of gas. Now multiply that by cost of ga, 222* 3.16 = $702.22
So $2773.51 – $702.22 = $2071.29 Savings
Ok, so obviously I live in Colorado and its not feasible to ride my motorcycle more than 4-5 months a year and some daily driving requires use of a car but its possible to have substantial savings. If you took it even a step further if you could ride a scooter to work, you could get up to 85 mpg. Motorcycles have their disadvantages, and can be very dangerous if ridden improperly or without proper training but on the other hand if you are someone who can take advantage of owning a motorcycle, I highly recommend it.