With record-high petrol prices around the world due to the Russian-Ukrainian war, many people are turning to bicycles for relief.
According to the Australian Institute of Petroleum, the national average unleaded gasoline price rose by 3.3 cents to a record 183.9 cents a liter last week.
Economists warn that as international tensions escalate, "it won't be too long before we see $2.10 or $2.20 as the common price people will be paying throughout Australia."
According to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (opens in new tab), UK motorists saw the steepest increase in fuel prices in more than 18 years after Russia invaded Ukraine. Prices could go as high as £2.50 a liter for petrol, and $3 for diesel.
Additionally, AAA(opens in new tab) reports that the average national price for a gallon of regular gasoline hit $4.17 earlier this month, which is the highest national average ever.
On the basis of fuel costs alone, the average rate of fuel consumption of vehicles in Australia is 7.5 km per liter of petrol (or 13.4 L per 100 km) which, at $2 per liter, represents about 27 cents per kilometer.
It is unlikely that fuel prices will drop anytime soon because both the US and the UK import a significant amount of gas and oil from Russia. US President Joe Biden recently banned all Russian oil and gas imports, and the UK is expected to phase out its gas and oil imports by the end of 2022.
People are looking for more wallet-friendly ways to get around town, whether it's carpooling, public transportation, electric vehicles or, you guessed it, bicycles.
Biking per kilometre does not require fuel, other than perhaps a banana for extra energy.
Cost of driving a car
The average cost of operating a medium sized car in Australia is $13,782. This figure was calculated earlier this year, when Australian gasoline costs were at an average of $1.43 a litre, significantly below current prices.
This includes registration, loan repayments, maintenance, fuel, insurance, tolls, but not parking, which for city workers can easily add an additional $12 a day, multiplied by 226 working days a year, which equals an additional $2,712 per year.
An analysis of recent German studies put the total cost of car ownership at $1M over 50 years, 36 percent of the average driver's income.
Cost of riding an Ebike
For our purposes, we will take the very likely scenario that a commuting bike costs $1,000.
A well-maintained bike should be able to last for at least 10 years, which equates to a cost of $100 per year. At the very least, you will need a helmet ($80), lock ($100), pump ($40) and lights ($100). Using these two years as an example, the annual cost would be $260.
Bikes require regular maintenance, and parts will eventually wear out. The cost of replacing tyres every two years, chains and clusters every year, chain rings every two years, miscellaneous items at about $100 a year, and labour at about $150 a year, is about $430 a year to maintain a bike.
A $200 annual cost for clothing you might not normally need (light rain jacket, gloves, trainers/bike shoes, shorts, etc.) is reasonable.
ADVANTAGES OF AN ELECTRIC BIKE VS A CAR
Here are a few great things about owning an electric bike.
They're Fun to Use
Using an ebike helps riders feel more connected to their surroundings. With an electric bike, you can explore your local neighborhood, city, or mountain view. In addition, ebikes allow you to take in all of nature's finest gifts, which you don't get to do too often when you spend a lot of time in the car.
Saves You Money
Compared to cars, ebikes are a huge cost-saver in the long run. Despite their initial cost, when you add in registration fees, insurance fees, tires, maintenance, repair, and depreciation, you will discover that electric bikes are much more budget-friendly. The use of ebikes may not be able to fully replace car trips, but they may reduce not only the amount of time spent in your car, but also the amount of money you spend on it each year.
Keeps you Healthy
Using an ebike is much like riding a regular bike, which means you get the same physical benefits. Electric bikes are powered by pedal assist, so you'll still get a good workout. You can increase the pedal assistance to prevent yourself from smelling foul while still making a healthy choice for your body if you have somewhere to be and don't want to smell sweaty from an intense workout.
Using an ebike means that you no longer have to worry about heavy traffic. Using an ebike not only allows you to maneuver through traffic more quickly and have your own bike lane, but it also provides you with more routes to your destination. As you are no longer limited to only taking roads and highways, you may find that you can shorten the distance between where you are and where you need to be in some instances.
Using an ebike is above all an environmentally-friendly decision. Cars - even electric cars - are great, but they emit a great deal of pollution. By using an electric bicycle, you not only save money, but also reduce your carbon footprint, making you more environmentally conscious.