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Akhila Vijayaraghavan headshot

Americans Save $4.6 Billion Every Year Just By Biking

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 BicyclistsSierra 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.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons 

Akhila Vijayaraghavan headshot

Akhila is the Founding Director of GreenDen Consultancy which is dedicated to offering business analysis, reporting and marketing solutions powered by sustainability and social responsibility. Based in the US, Europe, and India, the GreenDen's consultants share the best practices and innovation from around the globe to achieve real results. She has previously written about CSR and ethical consumption for Justmeans and hopes to put a fresh spin on things for this column. As an IEMA certified CSR practitioner, she hopes to highlight a new way of doing business. She believes that consumers have the immense power to change 'business as usual' through their choices. She is a Graduate in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow, UK and in Environmental Management and Law. In her free-time she is a voracious reader and enjoys photography, yoga, travelling and the great outdoors. She can be contacted via Twitter @aksvi and also http://www.thegreenden.net

Read more stories by Akhila Vijayaraghavan