Energy Use for Bicycling

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Total energy use for bicycling - food, bicycle manufacture and sale, repairs and maintenance, tires, and bikeway construction - amounts to about 1,300 BTU/mile. The comparable figure for urban automobile travel is 11,000 BTU/passenger mile for trips of five miles or less. Thus a shift from cars to bicycles would save about 10,000 BTU/passenger mile, a 90% reduction from the energy use for automobiles. If 10% of the urban auto travel conducted during daylight and in good weather for trips of five miles or less was shifted to bicycles, the savings in 1971 would have been 180 trillion BTU, 1.8% of total urban automobile energy use.

Filed in: Promoting Walking and Bicycling, Environment

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