### Calorie Commute Cost

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.

• 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.]

Energy:
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.
Time:
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/hourĀ  then such a solution “could” possibly be an economic winner. ‘Course, you could try and ride the bus…

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