You may notice that the numbers in our Bikecommuters.com/Bikejournal.com log at the top of our page have changed dramatically since yesterday.
Faithful reader Mike Schlei of Webster, TX pointed out to us today that there was something amiss in the math, and he was right on the money! While our gas savings calculator works quite well, it wasn’t designed for the task we were trying to use it for: an indication of the gas and CO2 emissions savings so far this year. The tool was designed for a theoretical savings based on current riding characteristics. For example, if you ride X miles per week, 5 days a week and gas is Y dollars per gallon, you can expect Z savings and reduction of CO2 emissions. We were forcing this tool to calculate a huge number as if we were riding 5000 miles a week, and the results got skewed.
Our resident coding guru Moe (who is also the creator of the original gas savings calculator, copied far and wide on a variety of bike-friendly sites) created an Excel-based gas savings calculator that takes into account a specific point in time (within the calendar). Now, the numbers are far more accurate and realistic!
Here’s how we gather the information for the calculation: I get the “club” mileage total from our Bikejournal.com club area and then get the national average price of gasoline from the good folks at the U.S. Energy Information Administration. We plug in a theoretical car’s gas mileage at 18 MPG (about average for U.S. vehicles) and peg the rides at 5 per week. Then the Excel calculator does its thing and spits out some good numbers for us!
If you’d like to join the Bikecommuters.com/Bikejournal.com “club” and help us push our crew to new heights of gas savings and reduced emissions, it is as simple as establishing a free account at Bikejournal.com’s sign-in page, then selecting our club for your affiliation (we’re listed as “www.bikecommuters.com”). We’ve got a worldwide cast of characters in our “club” — folks from South Africa, Australia and towns all over the U.S. Come join us!