To bounce off the driving topic in my last post, I want to figure out how much I’ve been saving while using public transit in the past two months since I moved to Chicago. I’m usually either taking the train or walking, so my car is inactive and lonely for days/weeks at a time. (Don’t worry, I visit it and give it pats). Here are some great, though somewhat obvious, benefits I’ve found from this lifestyle change.
Benefit #1: Saving Money
I’ve only filled up my tank once so far, which cost me around $40. When I lived in Oklahoma and drove a lot every day, I’d fill up every couple weeks, more or less, which would mean I’ve already saved between $150-$200 in gas money. Taking public transit only costs me about $20 a month right now thanks to my being a grad student.
Benefit #2: My Car Stays Awesome Longer
I don’t have to take my car in for service very often if I’m not driving it very often. My mileage is already getting up there because I’ve taken my little lady on a lot of long car trips, so keeping that number as low as possible is a huge plus for me.
Benefit #3: Helping the Environment
If I’m not driving every day, I’m clearly not personally contributing to harmful air emissions. According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), just from one person switching from driving to riding public transit (say, me), CO2 emissions are reduced by 20 pounds per day, almost 5,000 per year. Woah! APTA also has found that public transportation saves approximately 37 million metric tons annually.
As far as saving oil, public transit use saves 11 million gallons of gasoline per day. It’s estimated that U.S. dependence on foreign oil would decrease by 40% if just one in ten Americans used public transit every day. Hooray!
Benefit #4: Being Safe and Healthy
Finding time to work out is always difficult for me, so keeping my car home allows me to walk 2-4 miles almost every day going to work, class, and everywhere else. It’s also much safer to take the bus or train than to drive- 79% safer, in fact.
So, green friends, even if you have a car, and have access to a public transportation system, you can save a ton by limiting your driving. Plus it’s fun! And you get to be around other people– super!