The Costs of Driving

 

Every penny increase in gasoline prices costs Fond du Lac County drivers an estimated additional $12.02 per day. That might not sound like much, but that equates to about $438, 619 per year – and that’s just for each penny increase! A ten cent increase costs Fond du Lac County drivers $4,386,190. That’s $4 million that won’t be spent on other goods and services, invested, or added to savings accounts.

Driving is as bad for air quality as it is for your wallet. Vehicle emissions react with sunlight to create ground-level ozone. Inhaling this pollutant can cause airway irritation, inflammation, coughing, and pain when taking a deep breath. It is especially dangerous for people with existing lung and heart conditions (USEPA).

In spite of the expense and health concerns, the number of miles driven in Wisconsin increased 92% between 1980 and 2005, almost five times more than the population during that same time (UW-Extension, 2005).

Living without a car isn’t feasible for most of us, but we can make a choice to save money and our lungs by trying one of these alternatives this spring:

  • Avoid idling. Turn your vehicle off if you will be waiting for more than 30 seconds.
  • Don’t go. Often an errand can be combined with another trip you have to make anyway.
  • Tell someone else to stay put. Can they stay home while you pick up the kids from practice?
  • Carpool.  This is a tough one, but the US Census Bureau says 10% of us are already doing it regularly.
  • Use the City of Fond du Lac bus service. Route maps are found at the City/County Building and the public library.
  • Walk.
  • Consider a vehicle that uses fuels with lower emissions like E85 ethanol (flexible fuel vehicles), compressed natural gas, or biodiesel. E85 is available at gas stations in Eden, Fond du Lac, Mayville, Oshkosh, Plymouth, & Waupun.
  • Bike County Trails.