Excerpt from the Prologue of Save Gas, Save the Planet: John Addison’s book about hybrid and electric cars, pathways to low carbon driving, and the future of sustainable transportation. © 2009 John Addison. All rights reserved.
Your vehicle is your second biggest expense. You spend the most on your home, which can be a good investment; a car can only be a big expense. Save Gas, Save the Planet is full of ways to save money and use less gasoline. People share tips and stories about how they save by riding smart, riding less, riding together, and riding clean.
A study by the American Automobile Association (AAA) shows that the average cost of owning and operating a passenger vehicle is 54.1 cents per mile.The IRS allows you to deduct 55 cents per mile for business. This is over $8,000 per year per vehicle, based on 15,000 miles of driving. Depreciation is part of that cost. Anyone who has bought a car for $20,000 and later sold it for $5,000 understands depreciation. Fuel, maintenance, tolls, parking, insurance, and tickets add up. Most households have two vehicles, costing them over $16,000 per year. New cars are expensive. Save Gas, Save the Planet will help you decide on the best choice for you. Electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, and new fuels are explained including your choices today and by the end of 2010. Yes, better technology will help solve the problems of oil addiction and increased greenhouse gases. However, we are forecasted to expand from 800 million cars being driven to triple that amount. 2.4 billion cars trapped in gridlock are not the solution, even if they all run on renewable electricity.
Most do not need to rush into a new car decision. Millions are cutting car use by more often riding together and driving less. Many people are reducing the total number of vehicles they own. More are switching to transit and car-sharing programs. A growing number enjoy living car-free.
Save Gas, Save the Planet will help you lower your transportation costs. Save 2,000 miles per year by skipping rides, or sharing rides, and you save $1,000 per year. In the United States, people drive alone 93 percent of the time. Eliminating a few solo trips quickly adds up.
We drive 2.7 trillion miles per year in the United States, consuming 142 billion gallons of gasoline. In addition to the petroleum used to make that gasoline, a similar quantity of petroleum is used to produce the diesel demanded by heavy-duty vehicles, jet fuel for airplanes, special fuels for the military, and even for the asphalt that carries our vehicles.
We have more than 240 million vehicles in the United States; there are more vehicles than eligible drivers. The number of miles Americans drive has tripled in the past 50 years.
In addition to personally saving thousands, you can help the nation save billions. The United States government estimates that congestion created from commuting to and from work causes 3.7 billion hours of lost productivity annually, costing 92 million work-weeks and the nation $63 billion in wasted time and fuel. People stuck in traffic breathe harmful emissions such as particulates, nitrous oxide, and carbon monoxide. The health costs resulting from these pollutants are in the billions. In addition, by the time people get to work, they are stressed and less productive. We are spending more time on the road, stuck in traffic, burning fuel, and emitting pollutants. Instead, we can be intelligent about how we get around, work, shop, connect with others, and save money.
© 2009 John Addison. All rights reserved.