There are obvious environmental and health benefits to cycling, however the financial rewards of cycling are coming to light with a new report from the League of American Bicyclists, Sierra Club, and National Council of La Raza (NCLR). According to them, cyclists in the U.S. save a whopping $4.6 billion every year on gas and transportation costs.
The report coincides with National Bike to Work Day and more than 1 million Americans are expected to participate in hundreds of events across the country, showcasing bicycles as a healthy, affordable and efficient form of transportation. According to the report, the highlights include:
- Bicyclists in the U.S. save $4.6 billion per year by riding, instead of driving.
- If American drivers replaced just one four-mile car trip with a bike each week for the whole year, it would save more than 2 billion gallons of gas.
- From 2001 to 2009, Hispanics, African Americans, and Asian Americans took up biking at faster rates than other Americans, representing 21 percent of all bike trips in the U.S. in 2009.
According to the Sierra Club’s Executive Director Michael Brune, “Biking is an important piece of a 21st century transportation system. Biking reduces America’s dependence on oil and lets individuals bypass the gas pump, saving individuals money and protecting our health and environment from dirty oil pollution.”
The average annual cost of operating a car is about $8,220, which itself is a big incentive to switch to biking, which has a cost of $308. The Sierra Club states that 40 percent of all trips are made within two miles of home. Analysis by the Sierra Club shows that if American drivers were to make just one four-mile round trip each week with a bicycle instead of a car, they would save nearly 2 billion gallons of gas. At $4 per gallon, total savings would be $7.3 billion a year.
May is also National Bike Month and the Sierra Club is using it to raise awareness about the benefits of cycling. This month also will make people more aware of how national policy about biking and walking can be changed. In spite of more Americans opting for healthier lifestyles, federal funding to make roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists is slow in coming. Many cities like New York, San Francisco, and Chicago are actively encouraging biking as a form of transportation not only to increase fitness but to also reduce urban air pollution.
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