One of the biggest enemies of the environment, AAA, has come out with its estimate of the cost to drive a car in North Carolina. Of course, AAA forgot to include the cost of time lost sitting in traffic and the cost to environment, but their data shows that automobiles are very expensive to operate, even though their numbers are greatly skewed.
They estimate that the average car in North Carolina costs $5,711 a year or 53.68 cents/mile. Of this cost, only 10 cents/mile comes from gasoline. And by extension the 2.8 cents/gallon gas tax that Right has been complaining about would account for less than .1 cents/mile.
Even these numbers give me great hope that North Carolinians will give up driving so much, but the numbers seem to me that they should be much worse. AAA estimates that the average car gets 27.7 mpg. Judging by the number of SUV's around, that number seems extremely high. I would estimate closer to 20 mpg would be average. This would drive fuel costs up almost 4 cents/mile or $600 a year (they estimate 15,000 miles/year).
Given these costs, will Triangle resident's start being more supportive of the Regional Rail? Will other areas seriously begin consideration of alternative transportation? Will this lessen sprawl? I do not know, but I am glad that AAA has provided us with these numbers to help battle against their anti-environmental stances.