This year I’ve been commuting to law school; that’s approximately 100 miles round-trip, five days a week. That’s a lot of miles, a lot of gas, and a lot of money.
As a regular commuter, you start to develop certain habits. On any given part of the route you might have lanes you favor or speeds you favor. You try and optimize times you like to leave, and might even start seeing the same cars.Â I got big into audiobooks to pass the time as well.Â And of course there’s the gas.Â You probably have a favorite station and the usual point on the gas meter at which you figure you should probably get gas, or push it to the limit.
Here are two very cool sites that will help give you some perspective on what your commute is costing you.
The first is costtodrive.com. You input your start and stop addresses, the year, make, and model of your car (they use statistics from fueleconomy.gov), and they give you the distance, the average gas price for your area, and your carbon footprint! Pretty cool! For my beat up Camry the round trip takes almost four gallons and costs me about $10. This is almost spot on, although I think I might get slightly better than that because my car is in relatively good shape for a nearly 20 year old car and I try to drive the highways at 60 mph whatever the speed limit.
As for my carbon footprint, it looks like a round-trip generates 91.2 lbs of carbon dioxide. Given that:
- There are 2204.62 lbs of CO2 per metric tonne (which is the standard measurement of CO2 emissions);
- In 24.17 of my round-trips (about five weeks of commuting) my carbon footprint is one round metric tonne;
- The academic school year at my law school was approximately 28 weeks long (meaning my total commuting footprint for the year was about 5.6 metric tonnes of CO2 );
- The per capita carbon footprint for Kenya was 0.3 metric tonnes CO2 in 2007;
The next site is gasbuddy.com. This is one of those awesome sites that you know must already exist because it’s too good of an idea to pass up. This site aggregates community-contributed information (gas prices at specific gas stations) and lets you look up what gas is selling for at stations all along your route. Oh, and here’s their iPhone app. For instance, today it looks like there are gas stations only slightly out of the way of my normal route starting point that are 15 cents cheaper then any of the gas stations around my route endpoint.
Too bad I’m going to be moving next year to a place within easy bus/bike range, and will hardly ever be using my car!