With average national gas prices passing $5 per gallon in the US, there’s no time like the present to find a cost-effective alternative to driving. And if that money-saving alternative happens to be fun, efficient, healthy, and better for the air your kids breathe, then all the better.
In fact, considering how much gas costs right now and how big many American cars are, you’d be surprised how few stops at the gas station it would take to buy you a brand spankin’ new electric bicycle that could replace many of your local trips. Plenty of people have saved thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars by replacing their cars or trucks with e-bikes. Could you be next?
For some reason, pickup trucks are the best-selling vehicles in the US.
If you drive a big truck, it would take you surprisingly few fill-ups to buy an e-bike. An F-150 has a 26-gallon fuel tank, which puts a $5 per gallon fill-up at $130.
Many of you reading this are currently paying even more than $5 per gallon, depending on where you live. California averages around $6.50 per gallon right now, for example.
Believe it or not, just five tanks of gas at $5 per gallon could get you a budget-level electric bicycle. Here at Electrek, we’ve personally tested several Amazon e-bikes like those $600 specials from Ancheer.
That’s just five tanks of fuel if you drive a truck, or around seven to eight tanks if you drive a sedan. SUV drivers, you’re somewhere in the middle at around six tanks.
That Ancheer is, of course, a fairly low-end electric bicycle and will just get your foot in the door. If you’re willing to forgo a bit more driving at the cost of one or two more tanks of fuel, you can get some really awesome rides for not much more dough.
Consider a $799 Lectric XP LITE. That’s a recently released folding electric bike that weighs just over 40 pounds, yet it can travel at 20 mph for 15–25 miles on throttle or pedal assist. You can fold it up to toss it in your trunk if you want to use it to extend your commuting abilities (drive from the ‘burbs to the city edge, then ride in to beat traffic) or use it to replace your car entirely. And with the built-in throttle, you don’t even have to pedal if you don’t want to (though you’d be surprised how much fun it can be, not to mention some great light exercise).
We reviewed the bike recently and found it to offer great bang for your buck, almost as much as its 28 mph and $999 big brother, the Lectric XP 2.0.
For those that want to rock full-size wheels instead of smaller 20″ wheels, I’ve got a couple of other recommendations for you.
The RadMission from Rad Power Bikes is an affordable $1,199 e-bike that offers 20 mph speeds and a range of up to 40 miles with some decent pedaling (or closer to 20 miles if you run on throttle only to save your legs).
Check out my full review to see why this low-cost electric bike could replace many of your around-the-town car trips, totally gas free!
You can even see a video of me testing it out below.
Or if you want an even lighter e-bike that goes faster to around 25 mph, the $1,045 Ride1Up Roadster V2 is a definite winner in my book. It lacks a throttle, though the $1,195 Core-5 from Ride1Up will get you back into throttle territory.
There are even some really beautiful offerings such as the 20 mph Aventon Soltera, complete with integrated battery and head/taillights. It is priced at just $1,299, or the equivalent of 10 tanks of gas.
It’s important to mention, though, as our friends at Cycling News accurately reminded us recently, that for the price of zero tanks of gas you, could be riding the old pedal bike that is probably gathering dust in the back of your garage. Spending money isn’t always the best way out of a problem, and if you already have a bicycle that isn’t getting used, this could be a great time to pump up the tires and get it back into action.
As I’ve pointed out in the past though, many people, unfortunately, don’t ride pedal bikes as car replacements due to the higher level of exertion they require. That’s is one of the main reasons electric bikes are now helping so many returning riders leave their cars in the garage for around-the-town trips.
Electric bikes are already skyrocketing in popularity, especially as more affordable alternatives to cars (and I haven’t even mentioned the significant financial savings on parking, car payments, insurance, oil changes, and yearly registration, which could add up to hundreds of dollars in savings per month).
With everyone else waking up to the many benefits of e-bikes, isn’t it time you gave one a try?
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