I’ve said before that if our automobiles really make us happy, then to hell with the planet. The thing is, I don’t think they do.
- American adults average 72 minutes a day behind the wheel of a car, according to the WorldWatch Institute.
- That’s more than twice as much time as the average American father spends with their kids, according to the United States Department of Labor.
- It’s the equivalent, if you do the math, of just over one eight-hour workday a week or just under 11 40-hour work-weeks a year.
- According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 17 percent of the average American’s income goes on the costs of owning and running a car.
- That means, in other words, that we spend eight weeks of every year working to pay for our cars.
- Putting it all together, we Americans spend the equivalent of nearly five work-months a year either driving our cars or working to pay for them.
- And a lot of the time, reports the Texas Transportation Institute, we aren’t even getting anywhere, since we annually spend the equivalent of 105 million weeks of vacation sitting in traffic jams.
- Every ten minutes we spend commuting, according to Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone, means 10 percent less connection with our friends and communities.
- Even if you don’t own a car, research also shows that the more traffic on our city street the fewer friends we have, because the traffic causes to spend less time hanging out in our neighborhood.
- You don’t need to own a car either to breathe the 70 to 80 percent of air pollution that automobiles and trucks contribute in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas, according to the Environmental Defense Fund
- Meanwhile, studies show that the more a nation’s citizens commute by walking, biking and public transportation, the less obese they are.
- To top it all off, people who ride bikes or walk to work are 24 percent more likely to be happy with their commute than those who drive their cars.