I have passed my previous record of number of days without having to put gas in my car. Since moving out to the DC area 3-1/2 years ago, I went from driving 16,000 miles/year in L.A. to under 4,000 miles a year in the metro DC area. That number is also slowly shrinking.
Today is officially 43 days since I last put gas in my car. This was back when Jen was visiting, on December 28. My previous record was 41 days.
Now, the car is almost on empty, but I drive so little that I think I can make it thorugh the weekend without putting gas in the car. That would put me at 45 days. At that rate, it means that I put gas in my car about 8 times per year. I put in a full tank, which is 10 gallons. At current prices, that’s $2.36/gallon or $23.60 per tank multiplied 8 times and:
I am spending about $188.80/year on gasoline.
Compare that to the $100/month I spend on metro (DC subway) travel and parking and you can really start to see how commuting costs compare. In L.A. I was filling my car up with gas every 6 days. That comes out to 61 times per year. The prices were cheaper than, call it $1.50/gallon. That means I was spending $915/year in gas. My communting costs include parking, which is $3.50/day. All-in-all, I was spending about $1,000 year in L.A. and I’m spending about $1,400/year in DC. That would seem as though it was $400 more expensive to take the train than drive. However, you also have to factor in wear and tear on the car and most importantly, the opportunity costs lost when driving. That is, I can spend 1 hour/day on the train (half an hour each way) reading, sleeping, whatever. That is an extra hour a day that I did not have in L.A.