Not from a fuel perspective, from a cost perspective. And this shouldn’t be surprising; there’s a ton of very expensive non-caloric stuff (everything that gives it “nutrition” and “flavor”) in the typical human diet. From an energy perspective, walking is many, many times more efficient than driving, or just about any form of motorized transport.
From an energy perspective
Energy spent walking is multiplied by energy spent making fertiliser, running farm machinery, transporting food which is more expensive to transport than gasoline, pumping water etc. Activities required to generate 1 calorie of food energy takes up 10 calorie.
If you only count the energy spent transporting, then yes, walking is more efficient. But if you account for all the energy history of that 1 calorie, it is not so clear.
If you’re going to go down that route on walking, you have to go down it for other transportation’s fuels too.
I think this is getting a little bit out of hand…
Walking also makes the body healthier, to some extent, and doesn’t pollute. Driving only consumes fuel, and does pollute. Wanna do “environmental costs” too? :)
Yeah, I’m curious about the lifetime healthcare costs for a person who walks say at least a mile a day vs someone who more or less only walks to their cars.
Psha! I won’t consider this line of conversation productive unless it’s included in the calculation. I suggest we also include an in-depth study of the effects of walking on a nation’s GDP. Then it would give me all the leverage I need to submit to my Prime Minister a several-hundred-pages request for the institution of a Canadian Ministry of Silly Walks.
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Site offline? I couldn’t find a google result that was obviously it and wayback machine didn’t have it.
It’s a pun on the website having word “driven” in it.
Ahh, my head, whoosh!
That was classy, sir!
“Walking is 3 times more expensive than driving, from a fuel perspective”
Yes, if you are talking about the cost of just the fuel. The food required to power a pedestrian can be more expensive than the fuel to drive a car. In that regard this issue is like the “soft drink is cheaper than bottle water” problem. If you look at TCO then you also have to look at humans which need additional food and water to survive anyway + sleep, cars which need to be built, purchased and serviced, cars can transport 4 extra humans for “free”, walking would 5x that cost. I don’t usually like articles like this because they have to limit the scope somewhere and it is hard to find the right limit between, “simplified too much” and “included a molecular breakdown of a kitchen sink”.
As @LibertarianLlama said, you also have to calculate the energy used to produce the food.
Replying since I can’t edit. I don’t think this was a “me-too” comment, I was just referencing another user’s reply to a similar comment so it would show up in the OP’s “Your Threads” page. ;)
I like the occasional reminder that everything you know is wrong. :)
Of course this is a little too simple because calories aren’t burned in quite so Linear A manner. (Wow, autocorrect for Linear A.)
Your autocorrect knows Linear A? Huh.
everything you know is wrong.
Just going by title, tell that to the people who live on $1-2 a day walking plenty. They couldn’t even afford a Ford Pinto. They can’t afford the gas for a hybrid if there’s a significant commute. Doesn’t sound like Im living the budget option with my vehicle.
I didn’t read it as “actually cheaper and people should make lifestyle choices based off it” and more just a fun bit of back of an envelope mathematics.
If you are talking about people living in the US, you have to keep in mind that even though they may not be paying for their food, someone is.
Why is that specific to just the US?
Because in countries without a welfare system, those people often eat refuse instead of food.
People on welfare here in America eat refuse, too. It’s just lower-risk, tastes better, mis-labeled as food, and requires scrutinizing ingredients list to know it’s refuse. Multi-billion dollar industry.
To be fair, middle class people eat that sort of refuse as well. ;)
The final chart makes it clear that this is true only from a fuel perspective, although the ratio is lower than I’d imagined.
It’s very easy to become that jolly programmer who drives when you need to only go a mile or two, and joke that it’s cheaper than walking, but walking is really good for you, and we sit in front of a screen calorie surplus anyway. Just walk!
This entirely depends on what you eat, how fast you walk, how big you are, etc. as well as what kind of route you’re taking and what kind of car you drive (what mpg would it get over the route you’re going, what kind of fuel does it require?)
I have a Nissan LEAF, and if I’m driving it 10 miles vs. walking 10 miles, yeah the LEAF is cheaper.
But I also have a Honda CR-V. If I’m walking 2 blocks vs. driving the CR-V, walking is cheaper because driving the CR-V only two blocks actually puts a lot of wear on it because a lot of the wear on your engine is during start up when the oil isn’t up to operating temperature yet.
This article is trying to reduce something to a simple clickbait headline that just flat out isn’t that simple.
cost of fuel is $2/gallon
a prius gets 50 miles / gallon
so a prius spends $0.04 per mile
a human walking gets 350 miles / gallon
a gallon has 120 MJ of energy
one big cal has 4.2 kJ of energy
so one gallon of gasoline has 28000 big cal
a human eats about 3000 big cal a day @ $7 per day
so 10 days of human food is about = to 1 gallon of gasoline
10 days of human food is $70
so human calorie is about 35x as expensive as gasoline
a human is 7x more money efficient at traveling than a prius
so a prius is 5x more money-efficient at traveling than a human
so the article sounds about right
The biggest factor is that the cost of human calorie is way more expensive than gasoline calorie. If you used vegetable oil as energy per the article, that cost is greatly reduced.
If you assume that cost is mostly proportional to environmental footprint, this completely busts the traditional claim that biking to work is more environmentally good than driving to work. While you might have saved on energy spent while transporting, you make up for it multiple times with energy used to generate food calorie.
Additionally, every time you throw away food, you are burning up 35x that in gasoline equivalent. That would be a good number to throw on children.
You have a lot of really arbitrary and arguable figures in this calculation, though. You could spend a lot less than $7/day on food or a lot more.
And where I live fuel is more than $2/gal, it’s more like $2.50-3 lately. And my friends with Prius do not get 50mpg, more like 30-40.
Let’s say it’s 5 kilometers to work. Back and forth that’s 10 km a day, or a 200 km and some each month. At 10 l / 100 km (reasonable consumption for an older car in city traffic), I need 20 l of gasoline. The price is around 1.4 eur / l right now, totalling 28 eur. Now I don’t actually drive to work, I cycle instead. If I were to stop cycling and start driving, would I actually save that much (or even more, as the article would suggest) on food each month?
I would presume that my meals would look about the same. I could be wrong.
Surprisingly, from a pure energy perspective…
They then cite costs? An energy comparison (kJ to kJ) would be informative.