Green Spot: Somethings Aren’t Fair

So of you may recall I made a decision a while back to be un-green and drive to work instead of taking the bus.  It was a hard decision at the time because I wasn’t sure I was doing the right thing.  Now I’ve been at it for a while I’ve come to realize something very odd.  It’s costing me less to drive to work than take the bus.

Ok, that conclusion made me go “WHAT?!?!” when I first realized it, but it is true.  Parking costs me $37/month, and then I initially started with an extra $20 for gas each month beyond I what I normally put aside for gas.  Then in a few months I realized I was using any of that extra money.  So now I’m down to my regular amount of $60/month for gas.  Then during the last few months I realized I’m not even using all that money a month.

So once you take out the usual errands and other things I realized I’m spending $20 or less a month on gas to drive to work. (By the way for those wondering how I can do that with gas over a $1 per litre again.  Short commute + driving the  speed limit + small car = dirt cheap commute.)  A bus pass in comparison used to cost me $57 a month.  So driving is at least equal if not cheaper and saves me an hour of my day.

It’s so not fair.  Why is being a self absorbed energy hog a financial reward?  That is a problem to me.  Everything is setup to be easier to use more and harder to use less with little to know financial reward to doing so.  So in the world of easy I really do get why people aren’t green.  It takes effort and thought.  It’s just easier to eat your fast food toss the packaging in the garbage, watch your huge power sucking TV and forget about doing what’s right.

Somethings aren’t fair.  I wonder if it will ever be changed.

10 thoughts on “Green Spot: Somethings Aren’t Fair”

  1. Have you tried biking? Especially when it’s a short commute. My 4km trip is quicker by bike than car OR bus, and it’s effectively free. Nevermind the daily exercise bit.

  2. Even though you may be personally saving a few extra penny’s the true cost is not monetary … still waiting for our governments to stop subsidizing our oil based economy (although not very likely any time soon).

    I bet our conservative friends in power in ottawa and alberta are licking their chops as the price of oil climbs.

    btw – my 4km bike commute rocks now that the summer is here … it was definitely tough slugging in the winter and if I hadn’t switched to running half way through the salt would have eaten my bike as well.

  3. I can bike from my home to my work or the university in about twenty minutes, which makes it the best option for may-september. It only takes a couple minutes longer than driving my car, is much less stressful (no more rushhour, on the bike path), and I feel good about not using gasoline.

    The rest of the year, though, I end up having to drive – public transportation in regina is SO slow.

  4. I don’t think your example is typical of most major cities. For example a bus (and rapid transit) pass here in Vancouver costs the same, and probably has better service. I say that because in the dense parts of the city there is a subway type system as well as extremely frequent bus service. On top of that, parking is a lot more, and you sit in traffic a lot longer, so you’re bound to spend more on parking and gas.

    But I think it really comes down to the car itself. You can’t give it up entirely, so just getting a pass to take the bus to work isn’t going to save you money. The true savings is in insurance, depreciation, and repairs. Even with today’s gas prices, gas simply isn’t the most expensive part of owning a car. Although you’d never know that with the amount people wine and complain when it goes up 3 cents/L. 🙂

  5. The same thing happens to me too.

    Monthly bus + train ticket = $136
    Time to work = 2 hours one-way

    Monthly gas = around $90
    Time to work = 40 minutes one-way
    (of course I drive small cars and drive smartly ^_^)

    And people wonder why I don’t take transit…

  6. And Warren, I live in Metro Vancouver area. Just not directly by the skytrain. ^_^

  7. I’d include insurance fees, any car payments and maintenance because I consider these as part of the cost in driving. This way, a bus pass is still cheaper than driving.

  8. Graham,

    I think you hit it on the head. We aren’t comparing the true costs here so of course the car on the surface looks cheaper.

    Actually that makes me think about how we tend to think ‘green’ should be easy. The reality is it isn’t and won’t be.


  9. i actually think this article points to a sad reality. Our public transit is in such disrepair and so poorly funded and managed that for the majority of people living in major cities, they are happier and usually no worse of financially, if they drive instead.

    it’s what happens when cities are designed around everyone having a car and then slapping on a few street car, subway and bus lanes.
    A bike is great if your city has dedicated bike lanes and don’t deal with 3 feet of snow and freezing cold temperatures 6 months of the year.

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