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.
Colin Beavan (that's me!) is now leading a conversation about finding a happy, helpful life at Colinbeavan.com. If you want to know how people are breaking out and and finding authentic, meaningful lives that help our world, check it out the blog here and sign up to join the conversation here.