Author Topic: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars  (Read 4421 times)

nancyjnelson

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Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« on: May 12, 2018, 07:08:32 AM »
Something that Mushtachians already know, but I like how he frames it in terms of the wider community. 

I'm not sure if this is an article that folks who aren't subscribers to Medium can read.  If that is the case, let me know and I will delete the thread.

https://medium.com/@toddmedema/shattering-myths-the-true-cost-of-suburbs-and-cars-1e6ffab86364

DreamFIRE

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2018, 08:30:41 AM »
I was able to read it, but I stopped after a while.  I didn't care for his message.  I average only $1500 per year to drive/license/insure/maintain my car.  It's an absolute necessity and one of the last things I could possibly give up.  I bike for exercise during the few months of the year when the weather is decent most days, but it makes a small dent in my total car ownership costs.

RangerOne

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2018, 09:15:16 AM »
I stopped at, cities aren't over priced here in Pittsburg.... Um yeah some up and coming cities are much more affordable housing wise. Doesn't mean that is true inany Cali city...

The main message is spot on. If you can live without a car and invest the surplus. Clearly you will get further ahead. Most people don't work 50 years. Plus about the starting working age that's getting close to a full life span. 30-40 would be a better benchmark but still clearly you lose lots of money.

On a more philosophical note I don't think urban sprawl is bad or going away. It is a great solution in the US where frankly we have a shit load of land and no need for everyone to cram into a few blocks like in Japan .

I think things like self driving cars and telepresence will fix our commuting problem over the next decades or 2.


ixtap

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2018, 09:40:46 AM »
I only made it through the intro where there seems to be an assumption that if you aren't travelling by car, you aren't travelling. All that time spent commuting would be worse without a car.  My husband's commute would be twice as long and cost three times as much with public transportation. Even when he biked to work, car made financial sense for us.

Adam Zapple

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2018, 06:28:05 AM »
Good message but could have used some editing.  I, like others, could not get through the whole article.

LiveLean

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2018, 07:20:44 AM »
Stop. Just stop with this message of biking as an alternative to driving.

Anyone who rides a bike for commuting in this era of distracted driving with everyone keeping one eye on a screen has a death wish.

I'm a former triathlete and I've seen too many friends killed and maimed by distracted drivers.
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jlcnuke

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2018, 08:45:26 AM »
Yeah, overly simplistic article is overly simplistic. There isn't a "just don't have a car" quick solution for lots of circumstances. Sure, I could move closer to work so I could avoid commuting. Of course, then my housing costs would go up by hundreds of thousands of dollars to save tens of thousands of dollars in car costs. Then I could just never go anywhere that isn't within walking/biking distance for the rest of my life, but that's unlikely, so I'd still have transportation costs on top of the much more expensive home that I'd have to work even more hours of my life to pay for., etc etc

Also, the author talks about "average" costs, but "median" earnings and "average" commutes. As I hope everyone knows, when you start mixing medians and averages you've likely made your conclusions completely meaningless, as averages are usually skewed high relative to medians. So when you talk about the "highs" (averages) for the negative factors and the "lows" (medians) for the positive factors, you alienate most people who will be close to the median and thus recognize your statements don't fit them to start with. It's really a poorly constructed article imo.
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ol1970

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2018, 08:53:09 AM »
Stop. Just stop with this message of biking as an alternative to driving.

Anyone who rides a bike for commuting in this era of distracted driving with everyone keeping one eye on a screen has a death wish.

I'm a former triathlete and I've seen too many friends killed and maimed by distracted drivers.

Finally a smart comment.  My best friend had his 32 year old cousin die because he was biking to work and go hit by a distracted driver.  Now his widow is raising a three year old and the newborn son he never got to meet.  I bet she’s real happy they saved $1,500 year...but don’t worry it will never happen to you.

MrsWolfeRN

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2018, 09:11:26 AM »
Stop. Just stop with this message of biking as an alternative to driving.

Anyone who rides a bike for commuting in this era of distracted driving with everyone keeping one eye on a screen has a death wish.

I'm a former triathlete and I've seen too many friends killed and maimed by distracted drivers.

Finally a smart comment.  My best friend had his 32 year old cousin die because he was biking to work and go hit by a distracted driver.  Now his widow is raising a three year old and the newborn son he never got to meet.  I bet she’s real happy they saved $1,500 year...but don’t worry it will never happen to you.

I'm sorry this happened to you, but I don't see how adding more cars to the road can possibly help. Your logic will lead to not driving a small car because there are too many distracted SUV drivers out there, etc, etc.. Pretty soon it's an arms race where everybody is driving a Sherman tank. Protected bike lanes can actually help, as can education about the dangers of distracted driving.

Arbitrage

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2018, 10:59:21 AM »
Isn't 'biking as an alternative to driving' one of the biggest points of this entire website (you know, mentioned in probably half of the blog articles in some way)?  Telling people to stop espousing that on the MMM forums seems a bit strange. 

Seadog

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2018, 11:31:12 AM »
Finally a smart comment.  My best friend had his 32 year old cousin die because he was biking to work and go hit by a distracted driver.  Now his widow is raising a three year old and the newborn son he never got to meet.  I bet she’s real happy they saved $1,500 year...but don’t worry it will never happen to you.

An acquaintance was out jogging and got killed by a drunk driver who jumped the curb a few years ago. Also left kids. Tragic, but don't see how focusing on the tragedy and a sample size of 1 proves anything or lets you draw any sort of sensible conclusion as the the benefits or dangers or a certain activity.

Conversely, another friend's dad had just become semi retired in his early 50s after a long successful real estate career. A home in trendy a part of Toronto, and another in the Caribbean. Then one day had a heart attack on the golf course and that was it. Maybe a bit more biking would have helped? He was already pretty active. Who knows?

And that's the thing. You don't know how the dice will land for you so it's best to play the numbers. If you play the lottery, you're much more likely than non-players to get a million dollar windfall. (1 in 10 million vs ~0) however you're also far, far, far more likely to lose money and have a net negative benefit(I'd imagine 99%+ are net losers). If your goal is to "become a millionaire" or "avoid dying in a traffic accident" then by all means play the lottery and drive around in your clown-mobile. If conversely your goal is "live as long as possible" or "keep finances is best possible shape" then bike and avoid the lottery.

Same deal here with biking. You're a bit more likely to die young and violently then someone in a car, however you're far, far, far more likely to live longer on account of better heart health.

I'm also surprised that people don't take the cell phone/texting issue more seriously. Most studies show that texting is as bad or worse than being drunk, yet drunk driving rules get tighter and tighter, while texting gets a relative finger wagging.

...Now off for a bike ride. Gorgeous day in eastern Canada.   

koshtra

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2018, 12:28:39 PM »
Relax, dudes. Nobody's going to take away your cars. I own a car. Mr Money Mustache owns two of them, as I recall.

But it's stupid to live somewhere where your only option is to commute daily by car. They really do ding you for fifty cents a mile. Sure, give or take twenty cents. You're still talking thousands per year.

So you've made your stupid decision, to live 25 miles from your work and 10 miles from your grocery store. And someone suggests bicycling, and of course that would be absurd -- now. Because you're locked in.

I don't bicycle any more. I walk a mile to the train every day, and a mile back. I enjoy the walk. I am far, far, far safer than you car-jockeys. You lost a friend in a bicycle accident? I've lost two in car accidents. They're every bit as dead.

My commute is an hour long instead of 45 minutes. But 20 minutes of that is walking, which I want to do anyway, and 40 minutes is spent reading, which I also want to do anyway. By my reckoning, I'm not losing 15 minutes per trip -- I'm gaining 45.

jlcnuke

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2018, 12:31:55 PM »
Stop. Just stop with this message of biking as an alternative to driving.

Anyone who rides a bike for commuting in this era of distracted driving with everyone keeping one eye on a screen has a death wish.

I'm a former triathlete and I've seen too many friends killed and maimed by distracted drivers.

Finally a smart comment.  My best friend had his 32 year old cousin die because he was biking to work and go hit by a distracted driver.  Now his widow is raising a three year old and the newborn son he never got to meet.  I bet she’s real happy they saved $1,500 year...but don’t worry it will never happen to you.

I'm sorry this happened to you, but I don't see how adding more cars to the road can possibly help. Your logic will lead to not driving a small car because there are too many distracted SUV drivers out there, etc, etc.. Pretty soon it's an arms race where everybody is driving a Sherman tank. Protected bike lanes can actually help, as can education about the dangers of distracted driving.

Not sure the slippery slope argument is really appropriate here. With regards to safety, finding "good" data here in the US is hard imo. Other countries make it a bit easier. In 2015 in the UK, there were 1,025 bicyclists killed or seriously injured per billion miles traveled, compared with 49 people killed or seriously injured in cars, busses, vans etc combined. On a "mile per mile" basis, biking results in a much higher risk of serious injury or death traveling even while being good exercise. Motorcycles were about twice as deadly as bicycles. Other statistic checks show similarly bad data though, even from cyclists.

I'm still not going to stop riding myself, but those are the statistics I could find on the subject. I have read MMM's post on the subject and found the numbers used to be less than ideal (for instance, only considering deaths... getting seriously injured is a significant concern, not just getting killed imo, and the number of miles bikes source info isn't available anymore but I couldn't find any data on just "roadway miles biked" which is the concern when comparing it to bikes, not how many miles people ride off-road as well, for the US anywhere). As with most of statistics though, if you look hard enough, I'm sure anyone can find the numbers needed to support whatever viewpoint they wish (not saying they were picked for that reason, just stating that either side of the danger argument can find numbers to support their case).
« Last Edit: May 13, 2018, 12:43:36 PM by jlcnuke »
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jlcnuke

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2018, 12:39:23 PM »
Relax, dudes. Nobody's going to take away your cars. I own a car. Mr Money Mustache owns two of them, as I recall.

But it's stupid to live somewhere where your only option is to commute daily by car. They really do ding you for fifty cents a mile. Sure, give or take twenty cents. You're still talking thousands per year.

So you've made your stupid decision, to live 25 miles from your work and 10 miles from your grocery store. And someone suggests bicycling, and of course that would be absurd -- now. Because you're locked in.

I don't bicycle any more. I walk a mile to the train every day, and a mile back. I enjoy the walk. I am far, far, far safer than you car-jockeys. You lost a friend in a bicycle accident? I've lost two in car accidents. They're every bit as dead.

My commute is an hour long instead of 45 minutes. But 20 minutes of that is walking, which I want to do anyway, and 40 minutes is spent reading, which I also want to do anyway. By my reckoning, I'm not losing 15 minutes per trip -- I'm gaining 45.

The article's estimated $9k/year is still only half of what I would be paying extra to live in an equivalent sized home near my work... so commuting saves me about $8-9k/year over living close enough to walk to work. Sure, I could get a different job within walking distance of my house, but nothing that wouldn't mean a $50k+/year drop in pay... I'll take the savings from having a cheap house and a commute for a high-paying job over massively higher housing costs or a massive drop in pay. But I like money.. so there is that... and I like listening to my audiobooks in traffic, or Spanish lessons etc.
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DreamFIRE

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2018, 02:28:57 PM »
But it's stupid to live somewhere where your only option is to commute daily by car. They really do ding you for fifty cents a mile. Sure, give or take twenty cents. You're still talking thousands per year.
You need to look outside of your own lens.  I wouldn't move down south away from everyone I know just for some more biking weather so that I can go in to work sweating from a bike ride.  That would be a hell of a way to start the day.  I really like the short drive into work in my car, and it's many times safer than a bike ride.  And as I mentioned in the first reply, it only costs me about $1500/yr to drive, insure, license, and maintain my car.

I live on the edge of a smaller city, and I can head out of the edge of town riding into a low traffic area for the biking that I do.  It has no bearing on my work commute.  I avoid all city bike riding.  Too many people have been hit and maimed/killed riding a bike in the city.

koshtra

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2018, 03:00:14 PM »
But it's stupid to live somewhere where your only option is to commute daily by car. They really do ding you for fifty cents a mile. Sure, give or take twenty cents. You're still talking thousands per year.
You need to look outside of your own lens.  I wouldn't move down south away from everyone I know just for some more biking weather so that I can go in to work sweating from a bike ride.  That would be a hell of a way to start the day.  I really like the short drive into work in my car, and it's many times safer than a bike ride.  And as I mentioned in the first reply, it only costs me about $1500/yr to drive, insure, license, and maintain my car.

I live on the edge of a smaller city, and I can head out of the edge of town riding into a low traffic area for the biking that I do.  It has no bearing on my work commute.  I avoid all city bike riding.  Too many people have been hit and maimed/killed riding a bike in the city.

As I said, I don't bike any more either. A few years ago I used to enjoy my car commutes, sometimes, especially when I timed it so that I was going to work at five and coming home at three. I biked for a few years after that, but then I moved a couple miles further away from my work, and I started to find it wearing, and went back to driving. Then about a year ago I switched over to transit, and I was really surprised at how much I have liked it -- being out in the world amongst strangers, having time to read again, being out in the moving air a little more, having some exercise just built into my day. I'm sorry I called your choice "stupid," that was a stupid thing to say. I'm sure it makes sense for you. I live in a rapidly congesting metropolitan area, where the driving is getting more difficult and slower by the day -- I wouldn't be surprised if in five years' time my transit commute wasn't faster than trying to take a car into that mess anyway.

inline five

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2018, 03:50:23 PM »
I think it's stupid and wasteful to commute to any job five days a week. Just get a job where you don't have to do it. I put 2000 miles on my car last year and drive to work once a week, rough cost $600 (car is fully depreciated and cheap to operate). My wife works from home.

We save a ton of time not even having to get in a car these days. I mean, why would you even want to commute to work? Jeez.

jlcnuke

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2018, 04:34:21 PM »
I think it's stupid and wasteful to commute to any job five days a week. Just get a job where you don't have to do it. I put 2000 miles on my car last year and drive to work once a week, rough cost $600 (car is fully depreciated and cheap to operate). My wife works from home.

We save a ton of time not even having to get in a car these days. I mean, why would you even want to commute to work? Jeez.

When I find a work-from-home job, that I'd be willing to do, that will pay me the equivalent of what I earn going to work, then I'll consider getting rid of that commute... I'm not holding my breath though.
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inline five

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2018, 04:58:05 PM »
I think it's stupid and wasteful to commute to any job five days a week. Just get a job where you don't have to do it. I put 2000 miles on my car last year and drive to work once a week, rough cost $600 (car is fully depreciated and cheap to operate). My wife works from home.

We save a ton of time not even having to get in a car these days. I mean, why would you even want to commute to work? Jeez.

When I find a work-from-home job, that I'd be willing to do, that will pay me the equivalent of what I earn going to work, then I'll consider getting rid of that commute... I'm not holding my breath though.

Of course, just like biking to work probably isn't a viable option for many, many people or if it is it would end up limiting ones overall lifestyle and income.

expatartist

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2018, 08:33:01 PM »
Surprising that there are so many dedicated car commuters on this site. I can understand the author's tone could be annoying, but if you read to the end he offers a more moderate perspective.


swampwiz

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2018, 05:51:06 AM »
The thing about the cost of having a car is that there is high structural cost (i.e., the car's depreciating just for sitting around, the financing or opportunity cost of buying the car while waiting years for that value to be depreciated in use, and insurance) and low marginal cost for using it (i.e., fuel & maintenance), so when folks make the determination that a car is absolutely needed, they buy the car, but then make a cost-benefits analysis on using it based on that marginal cost of operation.  This paradigm (I always like it when I get to use that buzzword, LOL) will be completely uprooted in the upcoming era of the driverless car, since the driverless taxi will eliminate that structural cost, making the cost-benefits analysis be the net cost of the vehicle instead of simply the marginal cost.

As for the cost-per-mile that the author quoted, Uncle Sam has the rate as $0.545/mile, but an older or cheaper car would have a lower net cost.  As I myself have a VW (Jetta Wagon) with about 170K miles, bodywise in "rough" condition and with a Check Engine Light issue that the thermostat needs to be replaced - a $550 job that I calculate, based on the lower gas mileage and low usage would take me about 10 years to make it worthwhile, and thus I am not getting done since the issue causes the engine to run a little cool when operating at high speed on a cold day (the thermostat is stuck open, thus always cooling the engine whether it needs it or not, and not the much more important issue of it being stuck closed, which would result in an engine that would NOT get cooled), and I fully expect to be using driverless taxis by then - only has a wholesale value of about $300, LOL, so there is virtually no opportunity cost being lost.  All that said, it does seem like every few K miles, there is another $200 job that needs to be done, and I have determined that my cost of operation is about half the federal rate; I am sure that someone with a Moustachian outlook could get his costs down to something nearer that than what what the author posits.

As for the author saying that walking or biking is a solution, it is only a solution when the distance is low, in which case that marginal cost will be proportionally lower as well.

I do agree with the author that IF someone were to determine that what he needs transportation for in life can be met by walking/biking or mass transit - and now the at least somewhat economically sensible option of human-driven Uber, to be replaced by the much more economically sensible option of the driverless Uber - then it does not make economic sense to own a car.  Of course, the important BUT to that rationalization is that can only happen living in a very urban area where everything that person needs - shopping, entertainment, and most importantly a JOB - is near there (although Google et al with their employee buses makes the latter not an issue, but how many employers are like that?).  Living in those kinds of places is very expensive (for the space), and as well, makes job opportunities outside the immediate area a hassle, involving a long, typically SLOW public transit commute or a residential move.  Case in point: the author refers to Seattle, but Seattle is very expensive!  Someone deciding to live in suburban Kansas City would save much more in housing costs to make up for the extra costs of owning his own car. 

Oh, and while biking could be OK, even I, someone who likes to exercise, sometimes don't like to exercise at a certain time (which I would be forced to do if I had to bike), and what about when it is raining or snowing, etc.  And also, let's not discount the fact that someone being seated in all that extra metal that being carted around would be much, MUCH safer in an accident than a cyclist.  (NOTE: I think a well-engineered small car can be as safe, if not safer, than a clown car SUV.)  And while cities like Seattle might be safe, some of us live in cities where the downtown areas are quite dangerous.

Holistically, it seems that the author is saying that folks should choose to live in smaller, cramped spaces, with roommates that are not family (or SO) so that the amount of money saved by living out in the 'burbs can be devoted to high cost of living downtown.  Well, I like my safety, space & privacy (I early on, even as a bachelor, bought a house so that I could have the room for a nice gameroom, and piano, etc.), but I did buy in a lower-cost suburb that was not too far from work (the work was out in the sticks a bit, so public transit was not an option).  And while I agree with the Earth-saving gestures, I think the author comes from the POV of the typical young, urban, coastal demographic that fails to see that folks living elsewhere have a different set of lifestyle wants and transportation needs.

 


swampwiz

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2018, 05:59:23 AM »
Same deal here with biking. You're a bit more likely to die young and violently then someone in a car, however you're far, far, far more likely to live longer on account of better heart health.

I don't agree with this at all.  I had always driven to work (even if I lived a mile away simply to compress the time to get to work) and shopping, but that did not keep me from putting in a good 2-mile, 40-minute walk most every day, AT MY LEISURE.  My METS score of 12 as an AARP eligible is proof that one doesn't need to walk/bike to work to be in good shape.

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2018, 06:31:13 AM »
Same deal here with biking. You're a bit more likely to die young and violently then someone in a car, however you're far, far, far more likely to live longer on account of better heart health.

I don't agree with this at all.  I had always driven to work (even if I lived a mile away simply to compress the time to get to work) and shopping, but that did not keep me from putting in a good 2-mile, 40-minute walk most every day, AT MY LEISURE.  My METS score of 12 as an AARP eligible is proof that one doesn't need to walk/bike to work to be in good shape.

I don't know why there is so much all or nothing thinking, along side a "well that situation doesn't apply to me and my sample size of 1, therefore it's completely wrong". It seems to have gotten worse in the last year. Is your point that this is what the average North American does and why that despite driving more than most other people in the world, we also have the slimmest waistlines?

I know of a guy who survived a jump from a plane where his chute didn't open. Therefore parachutes are a waste of money and pointless. QED.

It's certainly possible to drive a lot and be in shape, I'm not saying driving doesn't have a place, just like fancy $5 Lattes don't preclude you from being FI. As long as these things are done consciously, that is the key differentiator. The issue is when you drive just because it's the convenient, easy, lazy way, and do it everywhere, as the vast vast majority of people do.

You talk about time savings, but to me it seems silly to drive one mile to work or the store, one mile back, and then go out and walk the exact same distance for the hell of it. Essentially you just wasted the time/gas on the drive. 

dude

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #23 on: May 14, 2018, 08:26:49 AM »
I think it's stupid and wasteful to commute to any job five days a week. Just get a job where you don't have to do it. I put 2000 miles on my car last year and drive to work once a week, rough cost $600 (car is fully depreciated and cheap to operate). My wife works from home.

We save a ton of time not even having to get in a car these days. I mean, why would you even want to commute to work? Jeez.

Very broad, judgemental statement. People live where they live for a variety of reasons. I live inside a major metro area, but I commute out 35 miles to work, for several reasons. First, I'm all in on my job -- pension, benefits, work-life balance -- so "just get[ing] a job where you don't have to [commute]" doesn't cut it. Second, job opportunities for my wife are much, much greater in the city. Third, I don't want to live in the suburbs (where my job is), ever. I far prefer living an urban area, where I can walk or take mass transportation to everything. Fourth, working from home is not an option in my job. And finally, I've always known my commute wouldn't be a long-term thing. All in all, when I retire next year (with the nice pension my commuting-every-day-to-work job will afford me) I'll have only made the commute for roughly 12 years. Next year, no commute, ever again.

mm1970

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #24 on: May 14, 2018, 08:45:18 AM »
Stop. Just stop with this message of biking as an alternative to driving.

Anyone who rides a bike for commuting in this era of distracted driving with everyone keeping one eye on a screen has a death wish.

I'm a former triathlete and I've seen too many friends killed and maimed by distracted drivers.

Finally a smart comment.  My best friend had his 32 year old cousin die because he was biking to work and go hit by a distracted driver.  Now his widow is raising a three year old and the newborn son he never got to meet.  I bet she’s real happy they saved $1,500 year...but don’t worry it will never happen to you.
My husband and I live 10 miles from work.  We used to ride pretty regularly, a few times a week.  Then kids happened, and their schedules.

I too know quite a few people who have been injured by distracted drivers (though not killed).  Some gravely so, others 6 months of surgery and rehab. 

I try to be very very aware when driving...I live near 3 schools.  My older child will start biking to school with friends next year (that worries me!)  Or maybe I'll bike him down there. 

I've considered starting biking to work again, and so has the spouse.  But I have to say, the new rule is: bike path.  Our particular commute is10 miles on roads (with bike lanes), or 11.5 miles with 2/3 of that dedicated bike path.  It's just risky.

- Yes I'm aware that driving is also risky, but at least I have 2 ton of metal protecting me.

Also, a comment on "move closer to work" - that's all well and good when you have the same job for 20-30 years.  Most people don't.  Our house was in the middle of our 2 workplaces.  But then we both changed jobs.  The cost to sell a house and buy another one is quite a lot of money in So Cal, and then you have the fact that our kids are in school.

ixtap

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #25 on: May 14, 2018, 10:22:05 AM »
I think it's stupid and wasteful to commute to any job five days a week. Just get a job where you don't have to do it. I put 2000 miles on my car last year and drive to work once a week, rough cost $600 (car is fully depreciated and cheap to operate). My wife works from home.

We save a ton of time not even having to get in a car these days. I mean, why would you even want to commute to work? Jeez.

My husband works on a campus with only tech and service jobs within probably a five mile radius. Only one of us can not have a commute.

dustinst22

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #26 on: May 14, 2018, 11:18:28 AM »
Stop. Just stop with this message of biking as an alternative to driving.

Anyone who rides a bike for commuting in this era of distracted driving with everyone keeping one eye on a screen has a death wish.

I'm a former triathlete and I've seen too many friends killed and maimed by distracted drivers.

Exactly this. 

To continue this thought, for those of us who are either close to FI, have achieved FI, or have families, when purchasing a vehicle one needs to seriously consider how safe the vehicle is.  I think this is vastly more important than total cost, but is rarely mentioned on these boards.  Your health and well being should always be priority #1, particularly if you have a family.

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #27 on: May 14, 2018, 01:51:15 PM »
Stop. Just stop with this message of biking as an alternative to driving.

Anyone who rides a bike for commuting in this era of distracted driving with everyone keeping one eye on a screen has a death wish.

I'm a former triathlete and I've seen too many friends killed and maimed by distracted drivers.

Finally a smart comment.  My best friend had his 32 year old cousin die because he was biking to work and go hit by a distracted driver.  Now his widow is raising a three year old and the newborn son he never got to meet.  I bet she’s real happy they saved $1,500 year...but don’t worry it will never happen to you.

I knew someone who got killed in a car accident, and someone else who became a quadriplegic.
Anyone who drives has a DEATH WISH.

I knew someone who ate bacon cheeseburgers and died. Burgers = DEATH WISH.

Got drunk and fell off a balcony. Alcohol = DEATH WISH.

Slipped in the shower and fractured skull. Bathing = DEATH WISH.

Come on already. You don't feel safe riding a bike, then you don't have to do it. But saying "No one should ride" is just as bad a generalization as saying "Everyone should ride."

FIRE47

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #28 on: May 14, 2018, 01:54:42 PM »
Stop. Just stop with this message of biking as an alternative to driving.

Anyone who rides a bike for commuting in this era of distracted driving with everyone keeping one eye on a screen has a death wish.

I'm a former triathlete and I've seen too many friends killed and maimed by distracted drivers.

Exactly this. 

To continue this thought, for those of us who are either close to FI, have achieved FI, or have families, when purchasing a vehicle one needs to seriously consider how safe the vehicle is.  I think this is vastly more important than total cost, but is rarely mentioned on these boards.  Your health and well being should always be priority #1, particularly if you have a family.

But remember - safety is an illusion and you should not bother with insurance...

dustinst22

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #29 on: May 14, 2018, 02:08:52 PM »

I knew someone who got killed in a car accident, and someone else who became a quadriplegic.
Anyone who drives has a DEATH WISH.

I knew someone who ate bacon cheeseburgers and died. Burgers = DEATH WISH.

Got drunk and fell off a balcony. Alcohol = DEATH WISH.

Slipped in the shower and fractured skull. Bathing = DEATH WISH.

Come on already. You don't feel safe riding a bike, then you don't have to do it. But saying "No one should ride" is just as bad a generalization as saying "Everyone should ride."

Yes, both are dangerous.  As Mustachians, we should care about the actual numbers.  Statistically speaking, you're twice more likely to die commuting by bicycle than by car and bike riding is also about 500 times more fatal than riding in a bus.  In fact bikes are the most dangerous way to get around with the exception of motorcycles.  I'd go so far to say this might be irresponsible as a parent.  Of course, distance and type of commute is important here. 
« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 02:13:17 PM by dustinst22 »

dustinst22

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #30 on: May 14, 2018, 02:10:20 PM »


But remember - safety is an illusion and you should not bother with insurance...

I'm not sure what this means.  I think of safety in terms of statistics.

Arbitrage

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #31 on: May 14, 2018, 02:12:16 PM »


But remember - safety is an illusion and you should not bother with insurance...

I'm not sure what this means.  I think of safety in terms of statistics.

Think that's a reference to a certain blog post:
https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/07/safety-is-an-expensive-illusion/


dustinst22

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #32 on: May 14, 2018, 02:16:07 PM »


But remember - safety is an illusion and you should not bother with insurance...

I'm not sure what this means.  I think of safety in terms of statistics.

Think that's a reference to a certain blog post:
https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/07/safety-is-an-expensive-illusion/

Ah yes, this article.  It compares vehicle size for safety, and concludes smaller cars are in fact more dangerous.  However, it doesn't get into vehicle type and vehicle features which are more important.  It also does not delve into how dangerous bike riding is (except casually in the update, which concludes biking is more dangerous, but then adds it makes you get in better shape which makes up for it ((questionable, since biking is twice as dangerous, and it's not as if the person in the car can't do things to be in shape)).  This is not a very objective article and has quite a bit of rationalized confirmation bias in it.  Pete can sometimes have a hard time admitting when he's wrong on various topics, this happened with a user named "Dodge" on the Betterment article.  Have to turn on your critical thinking skills at all times.  I get it, because to cave on a subject like this is to cave on a key tenet of the cult.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 02:27:10 PM by dustinst22 »

FIRE47

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #33 on: May 14, 2018, 02:51:01 PM »


But remember - safety is an illusion and you should not bother with insurance...

I'm not sure what this means.  I think of safety in terms of statistics.

Think that's a reference to a certain blog post:
https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/07/safety-is-an-expensive-illusion/

Ah yes, this article.  It compares vehicle size for safety, and concludes smaller cars are in fact more dangerous.  However, it doesn't get into vehicle type and vehicle features which are more important.  It also does not delve into how dangerous bike riding is (except casually in the update, which concludes biking is more dangerous, but then adds it makes you get in better shape which makes up for it ((questionable, since biking is twice as dangerous, and it's not as if the person in the car can't do things to be in shape)).  This is not a very objective article and has quite a bit of rationalized confirmation bias in it.  Pete can sometimes have a hard time admitting when he's wrong on various topics, this happened with a user named "Dodge" on the Betterment article.  Have to turn on your critical thinking skills at all times.  I get it, because to cave on a subject like this is to cave on a key tenet of the cult.

The fact is that you really don't need that much exercise to achieve the maximum longevity benefit - at least not the way it is sometimes touted. Basically some moderate activity 3-4 times a week will get you 2-3 years years after that there are severe diminishing returns. Don't be obese, don't smoke, and don't be completely sedentary and as far as longevity is concerned biking everywhere you go really isn't going to extend your life from an exercise perspective.  Quality of life however is a different story.

« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 02:53:25 PM by FIRE47 »

lateralwire

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #34 on: May 15, 2018, 08:44:50 PM »
This article is 100% on point.

Cars cost money individually, but also societally. As an urban planner, I can vouch for the data used for this report because I deal with it every day. Cars in and of themselves aren't necessarily a problem, but its the way we design our cities around them, rather than the people inside of them, that causes problems.

Suburbia is not environmentally sustainable as the article mentions, nor is it fiscally sustainable. This is just as true for individuals as it is for governments. If you look at tax revenue on a cost per acre basis, urban places provide a higher rate of return, and are thus better for local government to be able to fund the things you want them to fund (ie: transportation investments, water/sewer lines, etc). Even if you live in a suburb, you need density to exist in order to subsidize your lifestyle. It's worth pointing out that I'm not talking about New York and San Francisco levels of density. I'm talking about the downtown of where you live, no matter what size.


DreamFIRE

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #35 on: May 15, 2018, 09:22:26 PM »
This article blows.   I'll keep enjoying driving my very efficient low cost car which is a very small part of my budget.  I'll save the biking for my free time when I can do it outside of the city in a safer environment.  Don't ride a bike in the city - not worth the high risk!

I'm not a fan of density.  I like separation from my neighbor's house and to sit back a ways from the street.   I have a woods behind me - pretty nice.

koshtra

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #36 on: May 15, 2018, 11:28:55 PM »
This article is 100% on point.

Cars cost money individually, but also societally. As an urban planner, I can vouch for the data used for this report because I deal with it every day. Cars in and of themselves aren't necessarily a problem, but its the way we design our cities around them, rather than the people inside of them, that causes problems.

Suburbia is not environmentally sustainable as the article mentions, nor is it fiscally sustainable. This is just as true for individuals as it is for governments. If you look at tax revenue on a cost per acre basis, urban places provide a higher rate of return, and are thus better for local government to be able to fund the things you want them to fund (ie: transportation investments, water/sewer lines, etc). Even if you live in a suburb, you need density to exist in order to subsidize your lifestyle. It's worth pointing out that I'm not talking about New York and San Francisco levels of density. I'm talking about the downtown of where you live, no matter what size.

+1

I don't mind people choosing to drive & live huddled away from their neighbors -- I'm an introvert myself, I get it -- but we can't afford to keep on building metropolitan areas so that they can't be served by efficient transportation. We just can't. We have to cut our energy expenditures. The private choices are whatever they are. It's the public policy that I care about, the choices of how to lay out streets and prioritize transit. If you build spaces that can only be easily traveled to by car, people are going to live in them, and adopt the only habits that make sense there. And then they'll keep replicating those patterns because they're used to them. If the only way to feel you can freely go where you want to go -- when you want to go there -- is by owning a car, then owning a car is what you're going to do. At whatever cost to yourself and to the environment.

Kyle Schuant

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #37 on: May 16, 2018, 12:47:06 AM »
I was able to read it, but I stopped after a while.  I didn't care for his message.  I average only $1500 per year to drive/license/insure/maintain my car. 
Because you can externalise your costs. Which is part of the point of his poorly-written article.

But the same's true of many things in our Western lifestyle. Everything has a cost, the only question is who's paying. As the man in Bangladesh said, "they tell me my flooded house is because of global warming, but I swear to you, I have never owned even a single lightbulb."
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 12:49:22 AM by Kyle Schuant »
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runbikerun

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #38 on: May 16, 2018, 01:43:20 AM »
What the fuck is going on here?

Are people seriously arguing that cycle commuting is a bad idea on a website almost pathologically dedicated to the benefits of cycle commuting?

There's so much misleading information and half-truth flying around here that it's genuinely confusing, so I'm just going to take a hatchet to the whole lot and hope my ranting adds up:

1. Comparing risk by saying "cycling is twenty times as dangerous" is deeply misleading: I no longer remember the technical terms, but expressing the difference between two very unlikely outcomes without reference to the overall unlikeliness of those outcomes has been shown to lead to substandard decision making. If cycling fatalities are at 1,000 per billion miles, and car fatalities are at fifty, then your ten mile commute has a 0.001% chance of killing you as a cyclist and a 0.00005% of killing you as a driver. Expressing the probabilities in this manner is what's consistently linked to accurate decision making.

2. Measuring by fatalities per billion miles is also misleading: the type of journey undertaken by bike is far shorter than by car, and car safety is vastly inflated by intercity motorway driving, which accounts for a substantial number of miles of very low risk driving (and is exactly the type of driving a bike commuter would still be doing). A truer comparison would limit itself to intra-urban journeys of under ten miles. We don't have that? Then we don't honestly know that driving is safer, because without that we're not comparing like with like.

3. The majority of people do not do enough exercise, and bike commuting would be a family straightforward option to enable them to change that. You do enough already? Wonderful. But plenty of other people don't, and this is a pretty good way of setting them on the right path. People who bike are generally healthier and live longer, and encouraging that is a good thing.

4. That improved health needs to be taken into account when considering risk levels. If cycling to and from work is consistently associated with, say, a halving of heart disease risk for those under sixty, then it's nonsense not to take that into account. It's imperfect and it's measuring a proxy rather than a direct link, but the same can be said for the fatality statistics from earlier - professional cyclists ride unimaginable distances on an annual basis, and their fatality rate is less than two a year out on the road, which indicates that the relationship between miles ridden and chances of death is not clear.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #39 on: May 16, 2018, 02:14:05 AM »
What the fuck is going on here?

Are people seriously arguing that cycle commuting is a bad idea on a website almost pathologically dedicated to the benefits of cycle commuting?

There's so much misleading information and half-truth flying around here that it's genuinely confusing, so I'm just going to take a hatchet to the whole lot and hope my ranting adds up:

1. Comparing risk by saying "cycling is twenty times as dangerous" is deeply misleading: I no longer remember the technical terms, but expressing the difference between two very unlikely outcomes without reference to the overall unlikeliness of those outcomes has been shown to lead to substandard decision making. If cycling fatalities are at 1,000 per billion miles, and car fatalities are at fifty, then your ten mile commute has a 0.001% chance of killing you as a cyclist and a 0.00005% of killing you as a driver. Expressing the probabilities in this manner is what's consistently linked to accurate decision making.

2. Measuring by fatalities per billion miles is also misleading: the type of journey undertaken by bike is far shorter than by car, and car safety is vastly inflated by intercity motorway driving, which accounts for a substantial number of miles of very low risk driving (and is exactly the type of driving a bike commuter would still be doing). A truer comparison would limit itself to intra-urban journeys of under ten miles. We don't have that? Then we don't honestly know that driving is safer, because without that we're not comparing like with like.

3. The majority of people do not do enough exercise, and bike commuting would be a family straightforward option to enable them to change that. You do enough already? Wonderful. But plenty of other people don't, and this is a pretty good way of setting them on the right path. People who bike are generally healthier and live longer, and encouraging that is a good thing.

4. That improved health needs to be taken into account when considering risk levels. If cycling to and from work is consistently associated with, say, a halving of heart disease risk for those under sixty, then it's nonsense not to take that into account. It's imperfect and it's measuring a proxy rather than a direct link, but the same can be said for the fatality statistics from earlier - professional cyclists ride unimaginable distances on an annual basis, and their fatality rate is less than two a year out on the road, which indicates that the relationship between miles ridden and chances of death is not clear.

My DH often cycles to work and has always been very sporty. He is 47 years old. According to the doctors he has blood vessels and cholesterol levels of a 25 year old.
He does however have a heart condition with flimmers. Possibly caused by being VERY sporty. But the doctors said he should not stop exercising, as the positive effect of the exercise outweighs any downsides.

FIRE47

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #40 on: May 16, 2018, 04:50:09 AM »
What the fuck is going on here?

Are people seriously arguing that cycle commuting is a bad idea on a website almost pathologically dedicated to the benefits of cycle commuting?

There's so much misleading information and half-truth flying around here that it's genuinely confusing, so I'm just going to take a hatchet to the whole lot and hope my ranting adds up:

1. Comparing risk by saying "cycling is twenty times as dangerous" is deeply misleading: I no longer remember the technical terms, but expressing the difference between two very unlikely outcomes without reference to the overall unlikeliness of those outcomes has been shown to lead to substandard decision making. If cycling fatalities are at 1,000 per billion miles, and car fatalities are at fifty, then your ten mile commute has a 0.001% chance of killing you as a cyclist and a 0.00005% of killing you as a driver. Expressing the probabilities in this manner is what's consistently linked to accurate decision making.

2. Measuring by fatalities per billion miles is also misleading: the type of journey undertaken by bike is far shorter than by car, and car safety is vastly inflated by intercity motorway driving, which accounts for a substantial number of miles of very low risk driving (and is exactly the type of driving a bike commuter would still be doing). A truer comparison would limit itself to intra-urban journeys of under ten miles. We don't have that? Then we don't honestly know that driving is safer, because without that we're not comparing like with like.

3. The majority of people do not do enough exercise, and bike commuting would be a family straightforward option to enable them to change that. You do enough already? Wonderful. But plenty of other people don't, and this is a pretty good way of setting them on the right path. People who bike are generally healthier and live longer, and encouraging that is a good thing.

4. That improved health needs to be taken into account when considering risk levels. If cycling to and from work is consistently associated with, say, a halving of heart disease risk for those under sixty, then it's nonsense not to take that into account. It's imperfect and it's measuring a proxy rather than a direct link, but the same can be said for the fatality statistics from earlier - professional cyclists ride unimaginable distances on an annual basis, and their fatality rate is less than two a year out on the road, which indicates that the relationship between miles ridden and chances of death is not clear.

The site audience has evolved - it is slowly skewing higher income, higher net worth and older.


MrsWolfeRN

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #41 on: May 16, 2018, 06:11:58 AM »
What the fuck is going on here?

Are people seriously arguing that cycle commuting is a bad idea on a website almost pathologically dedicated to the benefits of cycle commuting?

There's so much misleading information and half-truth flying around here that it's genuinely confusing, so I'm just going to take a hatchet to the whole lot and hope my ranting adds up:

1. Comparing risk by saying "cycling is twenty times as dangerous" is deeply misleading: I no longer remember the technical terms, but expressing the difference between two very unlikely outcomes without reference to the overall unlikeliness of those outcomes has been shown to lead to substandard decision making. If cycling fatalities are at 1,000 per billion miles, and car fatalities are at fifty, then your ten mile commute has a 0.001% chance of killing you as a cyclist and a 0.00005% of killing you as a driver. Expressing the probabilities in this manner is what's consistently linked to accurate decision making.

2. Measuring by fatalities per billion miles is also misleading: the type of journey undertaken by bike is far shorter than by car, and car safety is vastly inflated by intercity motorway driving, which accounts for a substantial number of miles of very low risk driving (and is exactly the type of driving a bike commuter would still be doing). A truer comparison would limit itself to intra-urban journeys of under ten miles. We don't have that? Then we don't honestly know that driving is safer, because without that we're not comparing like with like.

3. The majority of people do not do enough exercise, and bike commuting would be a family straightforward option to enable them to change that. You do enough already? Wonderful. But plenty of other people don't, and this is a pretty good way of setting them on the right path. People who bike are generally healthier and live longer, and encouraging that is a good thing.

4. That improved health needs to be taken into account when considering risk levels. If cycling to and from work is consistently associated with, say, a halving of heart disease risk for those under sixty, then it's nonsense not to take that into account. It's imperfect and it's measuring a proxy rather than a direct link, but the same can be said for the fatality statistics from earlier - professional cyclists ride unimaginable distances on an annual basis, and their fatality rate is less than two a year out on the road, which indicates that the relationship between miles ridden and chances of death is not clear.

Thank you, I thought I was in the twilight zone for a minute.

magnet18

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #42 on: May 16, 2018, 06:56:01 AM »
Relax, dudes. Nobody's going to take away your cars. I own a car. Mr Money Mustache owns two of them, as I recall.

But it's stupid to live somewhere where your only option is to commute daily by car. They really do ding you for fifty cents a mile. Sure, give or take twenty cents. You're still talking thousands per year.

So you've made your stupid decision, to live 25 miles from your work and 10 miles from your grocery store. And someone suggests bicycling, and of course that would be absurd -- now. Because you're locked in.

I don't bicycle any more. I walk a mile to the train every day, and a mile back. I enjoy the walk. I am far, far, far safer than you car-jockeys. You lost a friend in a bicycle accident? I've lost two in car accidents. They're every bit as dead.

My commute is an hour long instead of 45 minutes. But 20 minutes of that is walking, which I want to do anyway, and 40 minutes is spent reading, which I also want to do anyway. By my reckoning, I'm not losing 15 minutes per trip -- I'm gaining 45.

My housing situation is $200/month total, no utilities, living a 15 minutes (15 miles) drive from work in the country.  My wife and I carpool, other than that, I don't see any way to optimize further.

$.50/mile is also totally wack if you own something reliable and work yourself.  I bought an 86 Toyota for $4000.  I've put maybe $500-1000 into it over $50,000 miles, including tires, and could sell it for $4000 tomorrow (well not tomorrow, give me a weekend to clean it)
It gets 18mpg
That's $.17/mile, making 15 mi each way $100/month to commute.

I'd love to save that, but oh well.
Plus, I ENJOY working on the truck, it's neat, and a small passion project.

traveling_vines

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #43 on: May 16, 2018, 08:33:15 AM »
Stop. Just stop with this message of biking as an alternative to driving.

Anyone who rides a bike for commuting in this era of distracted driving with everyone keeping one eye on a screen has a death wish.

I'm a former triathlete and I've seen too many friends killed and maimed by distracted drivers.

This makes me so sad. I live in a city and am perfect biking distance from everything I want to do. But the infrastructure isn't bike friendly, so I don't bike as often as I'd like to. We don't have protected bike lanes or dedicated paths; our streets are riddled with killer potholes. Auto drivers in my city are complete jerks and don't believe in sharing the road with pedestrians or cyclists. It's a huge bummer.

The article's comments on taxes/planet/health mirror some European areas (Malmo, Sweden comes to mind). The problem is that the US government (and general population) don't believe in building a bike and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure. So rather than doing something cheaper, better for the planet, and healthier, we spend money on widening freeways and building parking lots. This is a multifaceted problem and if people are serious about changing to less car-obsessed culture, there will need to be real and concerted grassroots efforts to do that. It's about so much more than a handful of people choosing to bike instead of drive (and potentially risking their lives in the process).

http://travelingvines.com/

Chris22

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #44 on: May 16, 2018, 08:49:59 AM »
You talk about time savings, but to me it seems silly to drive one mile to work or the store, one mile back, and then go out and walk the exact same distance for the hell of it. Essentially you just wasted the time/gas on the drive.


The problem is one of time.  The times when I need to go to work and the store tend to be much different than the times when I can go walk for recreation and fitness.  I usually walk early morning or late at night, when my two young kids are asleep.  When they are awake, life is much more of a time crunch.  I can drop my oldest off at school starting at 7:45, and then be at work at an acceptable 8-815 by car.  If I were to bike, it's going to take longer to get to the office, plus I'm going to need to shower when I get there (I sweat, I need to shower after physical activity) so now I'm probably at my desk around 9 or later, which is less acceptable to my employer.  Same deal on the way home, I work until 5-6 most days, I'm home in ~20 min by car, it's going to take longer by bike and now my wife is juggling two kids on her own for longer.  Same for shopping, there are times when I am not hurried and I can take the bike or walk to the store for an errand, but there are other times when it simply isn't feasible because the car is that much quicker. 

You can't just make the blanket statement that 1 mile is 1 mile and they are fungible, because often times they are not, at all. 
"If I could get all the money back I ever spent on cars, I'd spend it on cars." - Nick Mason

expatartist

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #45 on: May 16, 2018, 09:10:51 AM »
As I walked the ten minutes home from one of the three metro stations near my apartment tonight, hundreds of cyclists rode past for the Ride of Silence http://www.rideofsilence.org I photographed the stragglers when I got home.

In Hong Kong we walk more than in any other (first/second world) city. Hong Kong citizens are also currently the longest lived in the world. Coincidence? Maybe.

dustinst22

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #46 on: May 16, 2018, 09:16:07 AM »
Hong Kong is great, love visiting there.  If they could just fix the bad pollution issue they have.  But yes, it's set up fantastically well with great infrastructure for efficient travel and mass transit.

expatartist

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #47 on: May 16, 2018, 09:30:15 AM »
Yeah it's a poster city for mass transit. The pollution? Not going away any time soon. Global demand for China's products isn't decreasing any time soon. I moved here from Beijing so for me, it's pollution lite ;)

Ryancanderson23

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #48 on: May 16, 2018, 09:42:17 AM »
What the fuck is going on here?

Are people seriously arguing that cycle commuting is a bad idea on a website almost pathologically dedicated to the benefits of cycle commuting?

There's so much misleading information and half-truth flying around here that it's genuinely confusing, so I'm just going to take a hatchet to the whole lot and hope my ranting adds up:

1. Comparing risk by saying "cycling is twenty times as dangerous" is deeply misleading: I no longer remember the technical terms, but expressing the difference between two very unlikely outcomes without reference to the overall unlikeliness of those outcomes has been shown to lead to substandard decision making. If cycling fatalities are at 1,000 per billion miles, and car fatalities are at fifty, then your ten mile commute has a 0.001% chance of killing you as a cyclist and a 0.00005% of killing you as a driver. Expressing the probabilities in this manner is what's consistently linked to accurate decision making.

2. Measuring by fatalities per billion miles is also misleading: the type of journey undertaken by bike is far shorter than by car, and car safety is vastly inflated by intercity motorway driving, which accounts for a substantial number of miles of very low risk driving (and is exactly the type of driving a bike commuter would still be doing). A truer comparison would limit itself to intra-urban journeys of under ten miles. We don't have that? Then we don't honestly know that driving is safer, because without that we're not comparing like with like.

3. The majority of people do not do enough exercise, and bike commuting would be a family straightforward option to enable them to change that. You do enough already? Wonderful. But plenty of other people don't, and this is a pretty good way of setting them on the right path. People who bike are generally healthier and live longer, and encouraging that is a good thing.

4. That improved health needs to be taken into account when considering risk levels. If cycling to and from work is consistently associated with, say, a halving of heart disease risk for those under sixty, then it's nonsense not to take that into account. It's imperfect and it's measuring a proxy rather than a direct link, but the same can be said for the fatality statistics from earlier - professional cyclists ride unimaginable distances on an annual basis, and their fatality rate is less than two a year out on the road, which indicates that the relationship between miles ridden and chances of death is not clear.

If part of your argument is that followers of the blog accept everything MMM espouses without critique, then I think you are taking the "cult" part too literally.  Does MMM have some interesting, useful, fresh takes on lifestyle - yes.  Am I going to agree with everything he says and just accept it hook line and sinker? No.  I don't think that is what you meant but I think there are people in these forums that think that way and they need to grow up, or find an actual cult that they can turn their brains and lives over to.

runbikerun

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Re: Medium Article on The Hidden Cost of Cars
« Reply #49 on: May 16, 2018, 10:43:46 AM »
What the fuck is going on here?

Are people seriously arguing that cycle commuting is a bad idea on a website almost pathologically dedicated to the benefits of cycle commuting?

There's so much misleading information and half-truth flying around here that it's genuinely confusing, so I'm just going to take a hatchet to the whole lot and hope my ranting adds up:

1. Comparing risk by saying "cycling is twenty times as dangerous" is deeply misleading: I no longer remember the technical terms, but expressing the difference between two very unlikely outcomes without reference to the overall unlikeliness of those outcomes has been shown to lead to substandard decision making. If cycling fatalities are at 1,000 per billion miles, and car fatalities are at fifty, then your ten mile commute has a 0.001% chance of killing you as a cyclist and a 0.00005% of killing you as a driver. Expressing the probabilities in this manner is what's consistently linked to accurate decision making.

2. Measuring by fatalities per billion miles is also misleading: the type of journey undertaken by bike is far shorter than by car, and car safety is vastly inflated by intercity motorway driving, which accounts for a substantial number of miles of very low risk driving (and is exactly the type of driving a bike commuter would still be doing). A truer comparison would limit itself to intra-urban journeys of under ten miles. We don't have that? Then we don't honestly know that driving is safer, because without that we're not comparing like with like.

3. The majority of people do not do enough exercise, and bike commuting would be a family straightforward option to enable them to change that. You do enough already? Wonderful. But plenty of other people don't, and this is a pretty good way of setting them on the right path. People who bike are generally healthier and live longer, and encouraging that is a good thing.

4. That improved health needs to be taken into account when considering risk levels. If cycling to and from work is consistently associated with, say, a halving of heart disease risk for those under sixty, then it's nonsense not to take that into account. It's imperfect and it's measuring a proxy rather than a direct link, but the same can be said for the fatality statistics from earlier - professional cyclists ride unimaginable distances on an annual basis, and their fatality rate is less than two a year out on the road, which indicates that the relationship between miles ridden and chances of death is not clear.

If part of your argument is that followers of the blog accept everything MMM espouses without critique, then I think you are taking the "cult" part too literally.  Does MMM have some interesting, useful, fresh takes on lifestyle - yes.  Am I going to agree with everything he says and just accept it hook line and sinker? No.  I don't think that is what you meant but I think there are people in these forums that think that way and they need to grow up, or find an actual cult that they can turn their brains and lives over to.

That's not my argument at all. I'm well aware that Pete's way of living is some distance beyond most other people's ideas of what's pleasant or even bearable, but the basic animating principles are pretty clear:

1. Stop spending money on stupid shit.
2. Do more journeys by bike.
3. Index funds and real estate.

With vanishingly few exceptions, almost every article on the site is a riff on one or more of those ideas. It's a total fucking mystery to me why anyone would seek to be an active member of a community based on three pillars while flatly deriding one of them.

And the primary point I was making, to a far greater extent than the point about cycling being a fairly core idea to MMM, was that a lot of what was being said was fundamentally badly argued and flawed. It's not opposition to cycling that annoys me (that's just confusing around here): it's the fact that the arguments being made are genuinely bad and wrong.