A while ago, I wrote about my top five reasons for commuting by electric bike. Looking back on 2010, I discovered two more reasons. Time magazine identified the top news story of 2010 as the terrible oil spill that started at BP’s Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig on 20th April, and was not stopped until 15th July. What does this have to do with electric bikes, you ask?
Actually, I think that the 2010 oil spill has quite a lot to do with electric bikes. What did we learn from the oil spill? We learned that things can go terribly wrong with oil rigs, sure. But more importantly, we learned that the most powerful nation the world has ever seen could not get the problem under control for more than three months. Nor could BP, a corporation so powerful that the $40 billion hit it took due to the oil spill did not stop it from turning a profit in the third quarter. In just three months, almost five MILLION barrels of oil flowed into the sea.
Of course, this was all devastating for the environment. But it also showed us that the black gold on which we all depend is vulnerable. On top of that, it’s a finite resource that eventually just HAS to run out; in the meantime, the price just keeps climbing. At the same time, over 90% of Americans are still commuting by car, and 77% of those drivers are commuting ALONE in their vehicles. So we are basically devouring those expensive oil supplies like they will last forever – but they WON’T. So it occurred to me that these are two more excellent reasons to ride an electric bike. While large cars with single occupants are an expensive waste of our precious oil supplies, electric bikes are a cheap way to travel, and at the same time could help to make our oil last forever.
Not only that, we would most likely all get to our destinations faster and safer. Most Americans live less than five miles from their place of work. On an electric bike, without traffic jams to contend with, this distance can be covered in 20 to 30 minutes. Parking would not be a problem any more, because you can park 20 bikes in the space it takes to park one car! And of course, our famous obesity problem would become a memory – I personally have lost 40 pounds since switching to commuting by electric bike.
Of course, it is not realistic to hope that millions of car drivers will switch to electric bikes. Still, even if I can’t persuade others to do the sensible thing, I can do it myself. I can have the satisfaction of knowing that even if BP messes up again, I am doing my level best to use as little oil as possible because I commute by electric bike.
And of course, I don’t have to lose sleep over rising oil prices, thanks to my electric bike! Plus, if we run out of oil in my lifetime, I will be ready for it – while others will be stranded, I will be zooming around on my electric bike!
By guest blogger Average Joe Cyclist