Are Motorcycles More Frugal Than Cars?

Since the price of gasoline has been creeping up all summer, I thought I'd evaluate the costs of our motorcycles vs car/truck. Assume all vehicles are paid for and comprehensive insurance coverage is equal for all vehichles. The only variable is gasoline, collision insurance coverage and maintenance which will increase the cost per mile driven, but then again the more miles each vehicle is driven will help decrease the cost per mile.
 
We have four vehicles and they all have different functions. The fourteen year old truck is used for towing and hauling and toting the dog around. The eight year old car is for commuting and travel. The big motorcycle is for the guy and the little motorcycle for the girl. Mostly the motorcycles are used for shopping, and riding around on weekends, but occasionally for commuting based on the weather. All vehicles are paid for and all four vehicles have full insurance including a high level of uninsured motorist coverage.  Our total cost to own and operate these four vehicles each year is about $4500. But in actuality the $1000 gas costs are paid with coupons and gas cards at Publix, so that doesn't come out of our household budget. The remainder of the cost is mostly insurance. You may wonder why we pay so much for insurance, and I can assure you its not because we are risky drivers. Neither myself or DH has ever been the cause of an accident or collision. It is because we have 100/300 uninsured motorist coverage on all our vehicles. Since over 40% of people in Tampa do not have insurance, we need to buy insurance to protect ourselves from them. Another large percentage also drive without a valid license, so it is risky just to be on the road with all these people. Especially on a motorcycle. Especially when everyone seems to have a cell phone in at least one hand.
 
Anyway, here is the average cost breakdown calculated from our actual expenses over the last three years. As you can see the big motorcycle costs ($1311) almost as much to operate as the car ($1756). But the car was driven a lot more miles, so the cost per mile is the lowest for the car ($0.21/mile). And if we drove it exclusively and got rid of the motorcycle and its costs, the car would be even a better deal for the household. But, if the little motorcycle was the only vehicle needed, it actually costs very little to have around and use as desired for riding or commuting. The surprising finding here is that the truck is the most expensive vehicle to operate since it is used so little, just a few hundred more miles each year than my bicycle.
 
annual miles
vehicle
annual cost
cost/mile
5494
MC ST1300
$1,310.99
$0.24
2319
MC Rebel
$579.39
$0.25
8440
Car Camry
$1,756.51
$0.21
2150
Truck Explorer
$843.68
$0.39
1300
bicycle
 
$0.00
19704
totals
$4,490.58
$0.23
 
So, what is more frugal? The motorcycle or the car? The answer will vary for each of you, but if you keep the motorcycle insurance costs down by getting a smaller less risky model it will be more frugal. Your safety is worth something too, and small motorcycles are not as safe or easy to see in traffic. It depends on your route and if you stick to day time riding. But the cost difference is not very much. Personally, I think the risk of riding is too great to justify it with being more frugal. Don't get me wrong, riding a motorcycle is adventurous and fun and satisfies that "defying danger" excitement we all need. But unless you stick with a small motorcycle, it's generally not more frugal than a car, but would be more frugal than a gas guzzling truck.
 
But the best choice which has more benefits than all the above, is to just ride your bicycle.

No comments:

Post a Comment