I read an article in the Richmond Times Dispatch today that reports the average American family travels by car 23,100 miles a year and will spend a projected $3,372 on gas in 2008. This projected expense is based on an average of $2.95 per gallon for the gasoline to travel those 23,100 miles. Being the analytical geek, I decided to play with these numbers a bit.

I’m assuming that the average household has two cars and two wage earners that commute to work. If working full time, they will commute to work about 250 days this year. This is based on 5 holidays, 10 days of vacation, and 100 weekend days. Let’s say the family logs 1000 miles while on vacation and 50 miles per day while off for holidays and weekends. That means that the average household is traveling 67.4 miles each day during their 250 days commuting back and forth to work. This breaks down to an average per-person one way commute each work day of 16.8 miles. Judging from the people I work with, that seems valid.

OK, now let’s look at the projected cost of the gasoline. If the average family is going to spend $3,372 to travel those 23,100 miles, that means their cars are going to get an average 20 miles per gallon of fuel. Now, just for fun, let’s say the average family gets 30 miles to a gallon of fuel. That $3,372 in gas goes down to $2,272 for a savings of $1,100 per year!

Now, just for giggles, let’s assume that we cut our commuting mileage in half on top of increasing our fuel efficiency. By combining the two strategies that average family will realize a projected fuel cost savings of nearly $2,000 in 2008. Perhaps even more importantly, from a global perspective, that family will have also used about 650 less gallons of gasoline.

Now, just one more leap here. With about 115,000,000 of these American households that could save an average of 650 gallons of gas per year, the potential per year gallons of liquid gold we could save comes to 74,750,000,000!!!!!!!!!

Who says we don’t have any power to change things?

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