Five Things to Ponder

We usually try to focus on the positive aspects of riding bicycles for transportation, but once in a while it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves about the hefty price the U.S. continues to pay for our addiction to fossil fuel (and the automobile).

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for more than one in three deaths in this age group (CDC)
  • In 2008, 37,261 motor vehicle occupants and nonoccupants were killed in crashes. In the same year, 2,346,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes. (NHTSA)
  • Mobile sources are the largest contributors to air toxics (pollutants known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health or environmental effects) and they also contribute significantly to greenhouse emissions. (USEPA)
  • In 2000, the 75 largest metropolitan areas experienced 3.6 billion vehicle-hours of delay, resulting in 5.7 billion gallons in wasted fuel and $67.5 billion in lost productivity, or about 0.7% of the nation’s GDP. The congestion cost for the Los Angeles area alone was estimated at $9.325 billion. (TTI)
  • In 2008, the U.S. imported 3,580,694,000 barrels of crude oil, with 1,981,725,000 coming from OPEC sources. For that year, the U.S. imported $439 billion worth of energy-related petroleum products. (EIA, NCSE)

Feel free to post additional factoids in the comments below.

7 Responses to “Five Things to Ponder”

  • Madness says:


  • Jim says:

    Here’s a factoid, paraphrased from my friend’s enthusiastic review of the old road bike we’ve been fixing up for his evening commute: “It’s so much faster than my old bike. Riding it puts a big smile on my face!”

    I’ve come to realize it’s a mistake to include riding time in measures of commute or workday length – getting around becomes a source of pleasure rather than a chore, contributing to rather than counting against your quality of life.

  • RS says:

    I think motor vehicles are a definite factor of natural selection.

  • PJ says:

    One thing that I always put forward is going to one car per house hold.
    My wife and I went to one car about 5 years ago and we have never turned back.
    I will say that we don’t have kids so that makes things easier for us and I do work at home.
    However for the first two years we both had long commutes and still made it work.
    Having only one car we have found makes us put more thought into the use of the car and when we can simply walk or ride.
    Have a great weekend!

  • Alan says:


    Absolutely! Where there’s a will… We’ve managed one car with three kids. It’s not always 100% convenient, but there’s no doubt it’s cut our mileage dramatically and we’re all doing just fine. :-)

  • Fred says:

    I recently was stunned when I heard the statistic that the U.S. with 4% of the world’s population consumes 25% of the world’s fuel. This is a trend that cannot continue.

  • Iain says:

    @ Jim

    Even when the work day has been a real chore the knowledge that I can wind down on the commute home is what keeps me going at times.

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