Tired of Paying High Gas Prices? Try Something Else

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Much is being made about the cost of driving today. Whether you drive to the store, to work or drive to get to your vacation spot; the question remains, what effect is driving having on you and others? Are there other options?

I bicycle year round- not just on weekends but nearly every day – to work. Yes, I’m one of those crazies bike commuting in January.

I’m often asked how I do it. How do I avoid being run over and clean up for my professional job? After responding, I always hear the same thing; Oh I could never make that work. Obviously not everybody can. Truck Drivers can’t – but most people aren’t truckers. Riding your bicycle is only one alternative to your personal car. There’s the bus or carpooling or even walking. All of these require something very difficult – a change of mind.

Driving to work offers you with one thing, the ability to carry loads of baggage. That’s great if you’re going to the lumber yard but what about all of the baggage we don’t realize we’re carrying? The amount of money we have to earn to pay nearly $4 a gallon for gas, the pollution created by emissions and the manufacture of our vehicles. There’s the road rage and stress, the loss of green-space to parking lots and expanding highways, the fat that hangs off our bodies; the list goes on and on.

Debate continues over whether Columbus should build a downtown streetcar line. Columbus resident Walker Evans points out that the $103M project could break out to $59 for each of the 1.7M residents in Central Ohio. At current prices this would buy you one tank of gas for your car which, on average, will last you a week, plus a bag of chips and a soda to help with your weight gain. On the other hand the streetcars would provide tourists and us the opportunity to enjoy High Street, spend money at locally owned businesses, and create hundreds of jobs that don’t exist today but will remain long after the project is completed.

Resident Jeff Johnson started what he calls the COTA Challenge back in January where he traveled almost solely by COTA bus for a month. He found that his car was costing him almost 4 times what riding COTA cost him. That’s just in the real out-of-pocket expenses without factoring in the social savings. He also found he had more time for relaxing and didn’t really miss out on anything

Petroleum and Biofuel costs are raising the cost of Milk and Bread. Of course this may be the only way people will lose weight since we are getting much better at feeding our cars than ourselves. But instead of wasting all of that fuel why not change your mind and try something new? Take the COTA Challenge or take part in next weeks National Bike to Work week. If nothing else give us cyclists and pedestrians a little extra room and a wave as you go by.

Andrew Miller writes the blog Elephants on Bicycles

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