Transportation Liberation - Reference Library
Reference Library

Some of the facts we use, with links to where they came from.
Save the Planet    Save Money    Save Your Sanity

Saving the Planet by Not Driving

Each gallon of gasoline becomes 20 pounds of CO2.

Americans use 22 billion gallons of gasoline per year, and 40 billion gallons of diesel fuel on the highways. This US government web site has a wealth of information on all forms of energy consumption.

For every 15-gallon tank of gas, the equivalent of another gallon gets burned at the refinery.

54,000 square miles of corn to produce enough ethanol to replace the gasoline we use.
900,000 square miles of soybeans to produce enough biodiesel to replace the diesel we use on the highways.
This pdf from the University of Missouri spells out typical yield figures for common biofuel crops, as well as the amount of commodities necessary to produce a gallon of fuel.

There’s a ton of CO2 released for every ton of cement produced.
We use 470 metric tons of cement per lane-mile of American highways.
Embedded in that concrete slab we call a “lane-mile” are 59 metric tons of steel... a web of rebar to reinforce the concrete.

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Saving Money by Not Driving

The cost of driving goes far beyond the price of gas. We found a total cost of ownership calculator at the web site. You tell it where you live, and what kind of car you’re thinking of buying, and it comes back with a whole spreadsheet estimating the cost to drive it for five years.

An average car is parked for 95% of its life.
"The High Cost of Free Parking" is a book by Donald C. Shoup which began as a research paper (pdf) published by the University of California Transoportation Research Center.

ONE billion dollars is a stack of hundred-dollar bills 12 feet long, 7 feet high, and almost 5 feet wide.
A hundred-dollar bill is 2.61 inches wide by 6.14 inches long, and the thickness is 0.0043 inches.
$100,000 (a thousand A hundred-dollar bills) is 2.61 x 6.14 x 4.3 inches.
You need 10,000 of those bundles to have a billion dollars.
Stack 20 bundles high, 20 bundles long, and 40 bundles wide. Do the math.

Every year Americans spend $153 billion to pay for the roads.
$75 billion for construction
$38 billion for maintenance
$15 billion for enforcement and safety
$11 billion for administration and design
$15 billion for interest on debt

Greenpeace did a study in 1995 that estimated the cost of routine military protection of the oil supply to be $25 billion.

Then there's the cost of stealing oil: The Iraq war will ultimately cost $3 trillion.
Spread that cost out over 30 years, and it's still $100 billion per year.

Total public cost of driving is $288 billion annually.
$90 billion is collected each year thru fuel taxes, registration fees, and tolls.
That leaves $198 billion to be paid thru general revenue.
US population = 300 million. Each individuals share is ($198 billion / 300 million = ) $660/year, or $55/month.
To completely subsidize driving thru fuel taxes requires raising the fuel tax by ($198 billion / 62 billion gallons = ) $3.19/gallon.

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Saving Your Sanity by Not Driving

The average American commuter with kids living at home drives 104 minutes/day (8 2/3 hours, over an extra work day every week), or 77 minutes/day (6.5 hours/week) for people without kids at home.
This survey (pdf) also has a wealth of information on driving attitudes, traffic avoidance strategies, road rage, and more.

43,000 Americans are killed each year in traffic accidents, and 2.5 million are injured.

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