2009 Car Trips
Nerd that I am, I decided to keep a tally this year of car trips. I kept separate tallies for cities outside Philadelphia. Here are my 2009 totals:
Philadelphia - 65/165/65
San Jose - 19/57/13/3/18
US Virgin Islands - 0/0/44/4/11
Ocean City - 4/8/2/1/7
Harrisburg - 0/0/0/6/6
Baltimore - 0/0/0/4/4
New York City - 0/0/0/3/3
Trenton - 0/0/2/2/2
Washington DC - 0/0/0/1/2
All non-Philadelphia cities - 23/65/61/24/53
All cities - 88/230/126
The first number represents the number of distinct car trips I took. The second number represents the number of legs (so, if I take the kids to the zoo, and get gas on the way home, that's one trip and three legs). The third number represents the number of legs in which I rode in a car but was not the driver (some of these are hardly net new car uses - like if I walk over to my son's school and my wife picks us up and takes us home - but I am counting them anyway). For cities outside of Philadelphia, the fourth number represents the number of distinct visits, and the fifth number represents the number of days spent.
Not surprisingly, car-dominated places required a lot more car trips (USVI, SJ, and OC ate up tons of car rides), while a car was largely unneeded in transit-rich places (NYC, DC, Baltimore, Harrisburg, and Trenton were practically car-less, while I average far less than one leg a day in Philly). Consider that I was in the USVI, San Jose, and Ocean City for parts of 36 days (less than 1/10th of the year) but was in the car for 124 legs in those places (over 1/3 of all my legs for 2009).
My Philadelphia numbers are artificially low, since my wife does almost all of the car-related errands, like groceries and pediatrician appointments; but it helps that I can walk to work and take the subway to downtown meetings. I won't be tracking car trips in 2010, but it was a fun exercise for a year to be mindful of my car "consumption." So bring on a more appropriate carbon price; I'm ready, personally and professionally, for $10 a gallon gas.