Over a year ago I wrote a paragraph on this blog which dealt with the selection of a building site in relation to the compass direction to one’s workplace, a factor to which most give little thought. Of the myriad factors to consider when searching for a building lot, the travel distance to one’s workplace is one that most do give some thought. But most of us weigh it only from a present perspective: “how long will it take me to get to work?” Few of us calculate for the long term: “how much time will I spend behind the wheel driving to work over my lifetime and how much will I spend?”
Let’s take a look at the long term consequences. To do so, I’ll take some liberties. I’ll assume that you are 30 years of age, you will work until the full social security retirement age of 67; your vehicle nets 20 mpg; the distance to your workplace is 20 miles; and that you’ll make 5 round trips per week for 50 weeks a year.
20 miles X 2 ways X 5 days a week X 50 weeks X 37 years = 370,000 miles ÷ 20 miles = 18,500 gals X $3.00 per gallon = $55,500. That’s just the gas money — I won’t even start on maintenance and repairs. Now, let’s consider time. If, during your daily commute you average 45 mph, you will, at the end of 37 years, have spent 8,222 hours behind the wheel. That’s 342½ days, just a little short of a whole year behind the wheel. And that’s only for a 20 mile commute. Sort of scary, isn’t it?
– Tony Zaya

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