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The Musician and I have been exploring transportation options.  Interestingly enough, we decided to compare the cost of purchasing and using  1.  A new electric scooter, insurance and license not applicable, costing only pennies per mile; 2.  a used 125 cc  scooter, insurance and license applicable, with about 80 miles to the gallon; 3.  driving our car; and 4. riding the bus.  We wanted to compare the cost of owning and operating the vehicles, assuming travel to/from school (1,000 trips at 5.3 miles), additional taxes and fees, cost of licensure, and parking fees.  We also included a generous maintenance fee for each vehicle, $300 for the new electric (1 year warranty), $600 for the scoot, and $500 for our 97 Honda.  Here’s the break down of our budgeting:

Vehicle Initial w/ tax Cost/mile Insurance Licensure Parking Total (2 years)
electric NoGas 3002 0.02 0 0 132 3548
Used 125 cc 1991 0.057 180 46 132 3275
97 Honda 0 0.2 0 0 600 2160
Bus @ $63/mo for 24 months 1540
@ $1.50/trip per 1000 trips 1500

So as you can see, riding the bus is, by far the least expensive option… followed a close second by driving the car.  However, we got to looking at the numbers a little more and some nuances came into play here.  First, the cost assumes a $0 resale value.  In order for us to come out ahead we need to sell a scooter at $1000-$1500 to break even, entirely do-able considering the scooter wave is hitting the US, I predict we are seeing only the beginning of the popularity bubble.  Second, we need to take into account the growing cost of gasoline, not just ins dollars, but also impacts on the environment.  If we do the scooter option, we save over $700 in fossil fuels, that’s at least 175 gallons… that’s a lot of gas.  Third, I all but nixed the bus idea simply because of safety (my class gets out at 10pm), and time (it takes 40 minutes one way, vs. 20 minutes via car/scooter).  As you can see, we were leaning towards the scooter option the entire time, and we made our decision based on calculations, environmental values, and just a plain old desire to have fun!

Savings:  about 20,000 minutes (vs. bus) and at least $700 in fossil fuel savings (that’s 175 gallons of gas!)

Happy riding!

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