The True Cost of Gas

Today was my day off and I woke up to a beautiful, sunny, blustery day. In a cheerier mood, I thought to myself, maybe I deserve spending $3 to buy myself a coffee today at a local coffee shop where I could work on my blog. Typically, I wouldn’t be so thrifty, but today is such a good day and we have been pretty good the last couple of weeks on our spending. I could also swing by the local public library and borrow as many books as I can find on coffee, to start my adventure on becoming a knowledgeable coffee connoisseur. But there was one thing that was nagging me, more so than the overpriced coffee that I was about to purchase. It was the thought of driving, albeit a few miles, to the downtown area to reach the coffee shop and library. Granted, there are 7 mph winds, so while the distance is very easily biked, I was being a wussy pants and was trying my best to avoid the biking. However, I’ve also been avoiding driving for unnecessary ventures the last couple of weeks. While no one is interested in my own personal report, I will anyways report that I have been really good about clumping all of my errands on the same drive in the same area. Aiming to decrease my carbon footprint in terms of miles driven, I asked for my dad’s 15 year old bike, whose front brake doesn’t even work, and who’s handlebar rubber handle is missing. It doesn’t shift gears well anymore, risking unhooking the chain every chance you take at getting to a different gear. But I’ve asked for it to avoid buying a brand new bike, and it has given me a lot of joy in the last few months. On top of using it for pure enjoyment, I’ve tried biking to work and to the local dry cleaners. But I am still a novice and a wussy pants when it comes to biking everywhere to decrease my car usage.

Enter Mister Money Mustache and his ever reliable extremism. If you’ve never read his blog, you definitely should, because a majority of time, it’s just the slap in the face that I need to build up my reserve to get things done, to save money, or to just be a decent human being. While trying to make my decision about what to do, I figured I’d read just one blog post from him, and lo and behold, the one that ended up being next on my list was called, “A life lesson on gasoline”. Life has a sense of humor that I will never get tired of.

I came upon a video on the price of gas, and while there may be inaccuracies in the numbers (who really knows), I think the take away message is well-known, but highly ignored.

The video mentions the price of gas in Germany, and I can confirm this as true (now that we’ve driven the Autobahn and had to fill up our own gas tanks in Germany). But honestly, you don’t have a lot of Germans complaining about the gas prices, because the majority of them bike everywhere. Visiting big cities such as Frankfurt and Munich, there were very few parking spaces, and a plethora of bicycles. People used their bikes to commute to school in Heidelberg, or commute to work in Munich, grabbing an early morning baked good at a bakery, and grabbing coffee at a local cafe. It was so prevalent that, while I did not go to Germany to photograph bicycles in particular, I noticed that they somehow found their way into my photos.

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Instead of pedestrian signs, you were more likely to see signs telling you when there’s a bike crossing, or where bikes were allowed and not allowed.

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You don’t see  bicycle parking lots in Los Angeles, a city where there are allegedly more cars than people. In the State of California, there are reported to be 775 vehicles per 1000 people, which is a ludicrous number to me, assuming children and teenagers do not need a car for themselves. So I guess we can all strive to make a change, especially after all the global warming that has been occurring. In order to implement that change, we need people to be less of a wuss, myself included. The only way to do that? Strengthen our belief in our ability to bike in gorgeous, freaking, California, by showing bicycle parking lots in the snow in Amsterdam. Or bicycle parking lots in Germany on a rainy day. Or by reading Mister Money Mustache early on a Wednesday morning.

Not wanting to steal any of his content, let me just refer you to the article, and other articles that can fire up your reserve.

A Life Lesson on Gasoline // The True Cost of Commuting // Get Rich with Bikes

So that was it. I question it no more, and bike I must. Might as well be outdoors, enjoying this blustery, sunny day and getting a workout while I’m at it. Plus I’ll save on gas, and downtown parking. Not sure if I’m willing to give up the coffee today though. You win some and you lose some.

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