Calorie Commute Cost

What is your commute worth?

Don’t ask me. I work from home. My commute is about 10 feet. But, if I had to commute what would it be worth?

Why are we doing this? Primarily, I wanted to figure out what would be a reasonable value to charge to drive someone to and from work, say, if you had a fully automated vehicle and wanted to share it with everyone who could afford it – like Uber but without a driver. What could you charge? And, also, I wanted to know, if I have to get a on-site job, what would be the cost I’d have to add to my paycheck to take such a job.

Let’s start with a few numbers.

  • 20 miles to work site, 40 miles round trip.
  • 100 calories burned by the average human body walking one mile.
  • 500 calories that can be purchased (on average) for one dollar.
  • 40 mph average speed of a “commute” vehicle.
  • $40 dollars per hour cost equivalent lost while driving.

[Now, I know I’m mixing my metaphors here – human calories and vehicle speed – but I’m just looking for ballpark here. I could got with gas + maintenance + vehicle cost, but that would vary just as much.]

It would take 4000 calories for a human to walk that far (round trip).
At 500 calories per dollar (see cite below) that’s 8 dollars round trip.
At 40 miles total at 40 miles per hour that would be $40 per day wasted in traffic.

So we have:

  • $8 * 250 days = $2,000 / year (energy)
  • $40 * 250 days = $10,000 / year in time (time)

If we double the dollars per calorie cost (more reasonable given today’s food costs) then the price per year for energy goes up twice to $16 / day or $4,000 / year. Just for energy.

At this point we have $14,000 per year cost to commute.

Now, the time would still be a factor in using a fully automated car, but the $16/hour cost to pay for the travel (energy + rent the vehicle) is really low. There is no way to rent a car out (and pay for fuel) at that price. And even twice that at $32/hour — during rush hour — would be inadequate — regardless of time considerations.

[What does Uber cost? Apparently about $2/mile which would push the cost up to $80/day to use Uber as a commute solution. Which oddly enough is pretty close to the $32 + $40 that we’d spend in travel+time. But sheesh, who wants to pay that?]

So, realistically, by NOT commuting, I’m saving between $14,000 and $18,000 per year.

How do you feel knowing your commute costs you over $15k per year? Imagine telling your boss that having to sit in that little beige cubicle, within shouting distance of her, costs you personally, fifteen thousand dollars a year! Bloody hell! Let me work from home!

What about the investment concept? If a fleet of automated vehicles could operate efficiently at a cost between about $30-$50/hour  then such a solution “could” possibly be an economic winner. ‘Course, you could try and ride the bus…



3 responses to “Calorie Commute Cost

  • George F.

    The internet was “suppose” to eliminate the need to drive to the office. Remember the promise of “telecommuting?” For most, that promise was never fulfilled. If you’re a writer…perhaps….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anony Mole

      19th and 20th century managerial behaviors have stymied that promise the internet – work remotely. Bottom line? Trust.
      Your physical presence under my gaze means you’re working for me. Which is a false assumption right up front. And the sentiment lingers, and will remain, until the millennials are managers and all the old-white-fat-men — currently in-charge — are dead.

      Liked by 1 person

      • George F.

        Unfortunately Einstein was correct. “It takes an entire generation to die off before a new idea takes hold.” –something like that. Being there so I can gaze upon you all day is such a pathetic power trip! I could do 8 hours of work in just 2 working at home…(I used to do it in Silicon Valley). But again, you are sooooo correct.

        Liked by 1 person

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