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Friday, December 12, 2014

Why I don't drive to school

Salt Lake City doesn't have the best public transportation system.  In fact, parking is pretty cheap and with roads wide enough  for  "a team of 4 oxen and a covered wagon to turn around" (6 lanes in many spots), it is a really drive-able city.  However, I chose to discard convenience for a cheaper, healthier, and environmentally friendly option. 

I thought it would be kind of fun to look at all the money
 I am saving by choosing to not drive to school and instead, bike or take TRAX.

(A is my apartment, B is the base of campus by the stadium where the first TRAX stop is, "Class" is where I walk to from the TRAX station to get to my classes)

It doesnt look far but Salt Lake City has some huge blocks!

I choose not to drive for a few reasons

A:  There is a shortage of parking and it is something I rather not deal with
B:  It is only 3 miles each way and there is a TRAX stop 1/2 a mile from my apartment 
C:  There are a TON of traffic lights from here to school so it still takes a whlie to drive the three miles. 
D:  I pay A LOT for tuition and an all use pass for TRAX is included with tuition so I may as well get my moneys worth
E:  More exercise!  1/2 mile talk to the trax station, and then 1/2 to a mile from the station at school to my classes.  Or if I bike its 3+ miles up that BIG hill
F:  Cheaper!  Cost of fuel and a $200 permit each year. 

The downfalls of not driving:
A:  Takes more planning, have to plan my time around the TRAX schedule (red line to University every 15 minutes)
B:  Have to plan time for the 1/2 mile walk if I take TRAX
C: Weather- walking or biking in the rain/cold/heat
D:  Campus is on top of a HUGE hill which makes for a challenging bike ride.
E:  Trax can be really packed and sometimes it is tough to fit my bike. 
F:  Thursday night class ends up involving nearly 3 miles of walking to and from Trax stations, my apartment and class which can be time consuming. 

Semester 1:   costs of driving
$200 permit to park on campus 

Class Schedule

So that would be once Monday (6 miles RT), twice Tuesday (12 miles RT), twice Thursday (12 miles RT).  So 30 miles a week for one semester (15 weeks).  Roughly 450 miles a semester at 10 mpg city.  
Price of Salt Lake City Gas (averages for each month): 
August:  $3.65
September:  $3.50
October:  $3.30
November: $3.05
December:  $2.7
Semester Average:  $3.24
 Roughly 450 miles a semester at 10 mpg city- so I needed 45 gallons and with fuel costs of $3.24 per gallon means I saved $146 dollars in fuel costs and $200 dollars in a parking permit.  This is a low estimate because many time I go to school on other days or other times to work on projects, meet up with groups, or use the library.  I think it is fair to round up to $200 to make up for all those extra trips I would be driving.  

Not to mention the health effects of walking and biking, and the environmental effects.  This city already has a large air pollution problem and I am happy to admit I am NOT part of the problem.

I also walk everyone around town (grocery store, errands, etc) and even run the dog to daycare instead of drive.  The only times I use my care is to go ride in Lindon or when I need to pick up Austin when nannying. 

~ $400 savings this semester in gas and parking passes.
And for a graduate student in the Environmental Studies program on a budget and trying to stay fit and healthy....
 this is a good thing :)   


  1. i can definitely relate with this!! :)
    you go girl, being so fit and saving the environment!


  2. You should treat yourself with the money you save by getting a running outfit or other gear.


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