What would you do with an extra $999 this month? How about an extra $11,985 this year?
Those are the latest numbers from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), a non-profit organization that calculates average savings for a two-person household that takes transit instead of owning a car. According to the June 2015 study, Portlanders save the 10th-most among U.S. cities.
If you’re wondering where these figures came from (and how they could possibly be so high), consider that they’re based on Portland’s average gas price. APTA also assumes that you (and the other person in your household) are driving 15,000 miles per year, and that your car gets just over 23 miles per gallon. These numbers obviously vary for every driver, but they work as reasonable estimates.
Once costs such as parking, maintenance, registration, insurance and other basic charges are factored in, it’s easier to see how simply paying $100 each month for a transit pass could lead to big savings.
That’s just what leaving your car behind does for you. But everyone in our community stands to benefit from your decision to hop on transit (or your bike, or your own two feet). One fewer car in transit means less traffic and shorter commute times. It also keeps pollution out of the air—for each mile taken on TriMet, 59% less carbon is emitted compared to driving alone. And, according to APTA, every $1 invested in public transportation, $4 is returned to our economy. Not bad!
So let’s celebrate the difference we can make. June 18 is National Dump the Pump Day—our chance to show ourselves, our neighbors, family and friends that taking transit is the smart thing to do. Plan to commute by bus with a coworker who’s new to TriMet. Go on a picnic in Washington Park and take the train. Calculate your gas savings and share your results on Facebook using #DumpThePump.
Now back to the twelve-thousand-dollar question. With all that extra cash, here are some things you might consider:
- Season tickets to the Blazers
- Reservations to a new restaurant each month
- The latest Apple gadget
- Dream big and save up—this could take a dent out of a future housing payment or college tuition!
You probably don’t need to be told what to do with $11,985. But you can make a commitment to dump the pump and spread the word, and start on the path toward saving.