While it’s true that we love our cars, solo driving takes a toll on both the planet and your wallet. There are many reasons for ditching your car. With a little research and planning, alternative methods of commuting become not only possible but also desirable.
Many commuters don’t realize the hidden costs of the daily trip to work. Fuel is the most obvious, but there are others as well. When you consider the costs of wear and tear as well as vehicle depreciation, it makes sense to bike to work or to take public transportation. We tend not to notice the costs of driving, and while you might blanch at the thought of buying or upgrading a bike, this one-time cost will eventually pay for itself. Commuting by bus or train can be even cheaper, with discounts on monthly or yearly passes often available.
Biking to work is also a great way to stay healthy and in shape. Commuting by bike ensures that you will get weekly exercise without needing an expensive gym membership. The cyclist also receives the benefits of fresh air. Studies have proven that regular exercise is key to a good night’s sleep as well as having more energy during the workday.
If you ride your bike to work, you should take precautions so that you don’t accidentally get injured. Be sure to have reflective tape on your clothing so that drivers can see you. Have a working light and reflector on your bike. Finally, always wear a helmet, even when biking short distances.
If commuting by bike is not feasible, remember that walking to the train station or bus remains a healthy alternative to sitting in your car.
By now, everyone has heard about climate change. Whatever your views on the subject, biking or public transport are undeniably friendlier to the planet than driving a vehicle. Bikes do not emit exhaust, a key factor in global warming. A single vehicle can emit up to 20 pounds of carbon dioxide per gallon. Even buses, pound for pound, emit less carbon than a typical passenger vehicle, and that is before factoring in that a bus holds dozens of commuters who would be otherwise polluting individually.
Experts agree that we need to abandon fossil fuels sooner than later. Limiting the amount we drive represents a meaningful way to take that first step — and you will be wealthier and healthier for it, too.
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