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Old 03-31-2012, 11:14 AM   #101
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But my impression (which could certainly be wrong) was that Europe had less 'suburban sprawl'. I guess the issue is not anecdotes of so-and-so driving a long or short distance, but what is the average commute for a European versus the U.S.

-ERD50
I was really responding to NW's comment about long distance traveling in the USA. I know that some students in my day would take a year out after graduation, buy a 2nd hand vehicle and drive thousands of miles through Europe.

However, since you probably agree that most miles, whether in Europe or the USA, are commuter miles I had a quick Google. (Commuters seem more influenced by time rather than distance). I was 11 miles from work at the last job I had in the UK compared to 24 miles at my last job, in Louisiana.

Comparing the UK to the USA the average commute appears to be about twice the distance - 16 miles in the USA and 8.5 miles in the UK. The USA will have huge variations of course.

BBC NEWS | UK | UK commute 'longest in Europe'

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British commuters have the longest journeys to work in Europe with the average trip taking 45 minutes, according to a study.
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According to the report, the average distance travelled by UK workers is 8.5 miles - 17% further than a decade ago.

Outside the capital, only 11% of people get to work by public transport and just 5% of commuting is by national rail.

What's the average commuting distance for americans?
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Average one-way commute time is 26 minutes (over an average distance of 16 miles)

Poll: Traffic in the United States - ABC News

Average commute times in Europe. (I couldn't find an average commute distance)

Average Daily Commuting Time, European Countries, 2002 (in minutes)
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Old 03-31-2012, 12:07 PM   #102
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However, since you probably agree that most miles, whether in Europe or the USA, are commuter miles I had a quick Google. (Commuters seem more influenced by time rather than distance). I was 11 miles from work at the last job I had in the UK compared to 24 miles at my last job, in Louisiana.

Comparing the UK to the USA the average commute appears to be about twice the distance - 16 miles in the USA and 8.5 miles in the UK. The USA will have huge variations of course.
Thanks. My quick googling was also coming up with times rather than miles. I'd guess that the UK versus US miles trend would generally hold for Continental Europe as well.

Shorter commutes favor EVs. But then, at half the commute, and twice the fuel cost, the economics kind of washes out. But an EV range of 50 miles instead of 100 miles would be roughly comparable in practice, and with roughly half the batteries, the EV cost delta would come down.

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Old 03-31-2012, 12:13 PM   #103
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My anecdotal impression of Western European driving from several trips is that most people drive small cars for commuting--VW Golf sized. And they are probably diesel. And the traffic around cities is horrendous. And don't think finding the Hertz drop off at the Berlin Hauptbahnhof is going to be easy.
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Old 03-31-2012, 12:18 PM   #104
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The best story we heard was when our DD and SIL went to Italy a few years ago. At the end of their vacation they took a 7 day cruise out of Venice. They met an American couple who were supposed to be meeting their daughter, who was a student in York University, but because of the ash from the Icelandic volcano grounding all aircraft in N. Europe they never expected her to make it. Her English boyfriend drove her all the way there, then immediately drove all the way back as he had to return to work. 7 days later he was there to meet them again. That's 1,100 miles each way, TWICE in a week. Must have been true love
Umm... I am impressed, and then I am not.

What is a warm-blooded male in love to do, other than to oblige to a damsel in distress? Would you or I do any differently if we were in his shoes?

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If (and that's a huge "IF") gasoline is $1.00/a gallon less next year than this year, how much will you save?

Banff to Fairbanks = 4,000 miles round trip. At 8mpg that's 500 gallons, so you'll save a whopping $500 at $1/gal by stopping at Banff. Is that enough to prevent you from making a trip you've been talking about taking for years?
Actually, I expect gas prices to be even higher next year.

The reason we have not been able to make the RV trip to Alaska, last year and this, is that my wife has a family committment, and cannot be away for longer than 1 month or 2 at a time. And a Alaskan trip by RV deserves to be a summer long (see my signature line). Then, there is no guarantee that she can go next year either.

If and when we can go, we will have to retrace this year's trip to Banff. The total round trip will be at least 8,000 miles. We would save money and time, if we keep going West this year. But alas, it is not to be.

Eventually, if I can talk my wife into going, with the higher gas cost, I can see my wife saying "For just the fuel cost alone, you could have gotten for us a suite on a cruise ship, tickets to fly to Seattle or Vancouver, and still have money left over for shopping. Here, I am cooking by the side of a muddy highway, while shooing away mosquitoes as big as hummingbirds".

The cost comparison is already true this year, at the current gas prices. See what I mean?
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Old 03-31-2012, 12:37 PM   #105
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+1 You should go to Alaska! I am not eager to travel, myself, but I can recognize a dream when I see one. I think you should go to Alaska now, while you still can.
+2 This is something that you have been wanting to do for quite a while. You never know what the future holds. I say go now and live your dream!
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Old 03-31-2012, 12:52 PM   #106
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The reason we have not been able to make the RV trip to Alaska, last year and this, is that my wife has a family committment, and cannot be away for longer than 1 month or 2 at a time. And a Alaskan trip by RV deserves to be a summer long (see my signature line). Then, there is no guarantee that she can go next year either.

If and when we can go, we will have to retrace this year's trip to Banff. The total round trip will be at least 8,000 miles. We would save money and time, if we keep going West this year. But alas, it is not to be.

Eventually, if I can talk my wife into going, with the higher gas cost, I can see my wife saying "For just the fuel cost alone, you could have gotten for us a suite on a cruise ship, tickets to fly to Seattle or Vancouver, and still have money left over for shopping. Here, I am cooking by the side of a muddy highway, while shooing away mosquitoes as big as hummingbirds".

The cost comparison is already true this year, at the current gas prices. See what I mean?
Can't you take the cruise now and the RV in a couple of years? Does it have to be one or the other?
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Old 03-31-2012, 12:56 PM   #107
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If (and that's a huge "IF") gasoline is $1.00/a gallon less next year than this year, how much will you save?

Banff to Fairbanks = 4,000 miles round trip. At 8mpg that's 500 gallons, so you'll save a whopping $500 at $1/gal by stopping at Banff. Is that enough to prevent you from making a trip you've been talking about taking for years?
Agreed. If this was potentially a once-in-a-lifetime trip and you have the resources to go part of the way, I don't think I'd let an extra $500 (if that) stop me from taking the trip I've been dreaming about.
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Old 03-31-2012, 01:00 PM   #108
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Eventually, if I can talk my wife into going, with the higher gas cost, I can see my wife saying "For just the fuel cost alone, you could have gotten for us a suite on a cruise ship, tickets to fly to Seattle or Vancouver, and still have money left over for shopping. Here, I am cooking by the side of a muddy highway, while shooing away mosquitoes as big as hummingbirds".

The cost comparison is already true this year, at the current gas prices. See what I mean?
Of course, if you fly then get a suite on the cruise ship she's liable to complain about the TSA, the space in the plane, the room on the cruise ship, the weather, etc. Might as well be doing what you want while listening to the complaints, eh? As long as she gets to go shopping maybe it will be OK.
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Old 03-31-2012, 01:37 PM   #109
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+2 This is something that you have been wanting to do for quite a while. You never know what the future holds. I say go now and live your dream!
My problem is in convincing my sweet wife to share my dream.

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Agreed. If this was potentially a once-in-a-lifetime trip and you have the resources to go part of the way, I don't think I'd let an extra $500 (if that) stop me from taking the trip I've been dreaming about.
It was not all about the money, as I explained in the earlier post. And keeping going once we get to Banff would save a few $K and time.

If I do not care for my wife to go along, it would be a lot simpler. Perhaps drop her off at Calgary airport, then continue on my way onto the Alcan hwy. But knowing my wife, I know she would not want me to go alone (she loves me too much ). And she has commitment, as I explained earlier.

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Can't you take the cruise now and the RV in a couple of years? Does it have to be one or the other?
Ah, there's the compromise, and a potential solution!

Another way is to go by sea one way, then by land the other. I have looked into putting the RV and the toad on the ferry. It is more expensive than what one would expect, and the little sleeping room on the ferry is no match for cruise ship accommodation, however.

Anyway, the plan to go to Banff is already in place for this year. My wife already arranged for a sibling to cover her familial duty. I already roughed out where to stay, what to do, places to see, etc...

So, I still have another year to contemplate next summer trip.

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Of course, if you fly then get a suite on the cruise ship she's liable to complain about the TSA, the space in the plane, the room on the cruise ship, the weather, etc. Might as well be doing what you want while listening to the complaints, eh? As long as she gets to go shopping maybe it will be OK.
No, my wife has traveled a bit, and she will not complain if we take the Alaskan cruise, particularly if I use the RV fuel money to get a suite.

But compared to the RV adventure, I think it would be boring sitting on the ship. We have enjoyed cruises before, but I like RV'in more now. It's more exciting and adventurous.

Whatever form of travel, I would like my wife to enjoy the experience too. It's more fun that way. I think I will find a way, like MichaelB suggested.
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Old 03-31-2012, 02:52 PM   #110
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Agreed. If this was potentially a once-in-a-lifetime trip and you have the resources to go part of the way, I don't think I'd let an extra $500 (if that) stop me from taking the trip I've been dreaming about.
+1. You might save $ by waiting, but in the long run (if not short) it will most likely cost you more to wait...
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Old 03-31-2012, 05:19 PM   #111
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I already described the reason I could not go. It's the availability of the company of my wife.

Delaying the trip, then having to retrace the trip back to Banff will cost time and a few $K, and not save anything.

Anyway, I agree that there are people who like to take road trips on either side of the pond. Well, they exist all around the world for that matter. While it is common for American students to backpack across Europe or the Orient, many European young people like to do the same in the US or Asia.

Still, I think that because the "old world" Europe is developed and populated, many Europeans look at the western side of the US as something more wild and exotic.

As a kid, I read the Franco-Belgian comics series Lucky Luke. See the title below, "Sous le ciel de l'Ouest" ("Under the Western Sky").



Here, Lucky Luke caught Billy the Kid and spanked him.



In the song "Jef", Jacques Brel consoled his friend who had his heart broken because of a woman, told him to get up from the gutter, so they could find a bench and talk about traveling to America ("Puis on se trouvera un banc, On parlera de l'Amérique, Où c'est qu'on va aller").

This was in the 50s and 60s and I do not know if Europeans still think the same about Western USA. Still, I recall a recent thread posting a BBC video about nomads who wander the US South West.

But do they ever think the same about exploring the wild Siberia, or any of the "stan" countries, I wonder?

And I recall a visit a few years ago by a couple friend who lived on the eastern seaboard, near DC. The wife had never been to the West, and was really impressed by the open sky and the view to the horizon without any man-made structure (except for the black asphalt in front of them of course).
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Old 04-01-2012, 03:51 PM   #112
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My problem is in convincing my sweet wife to share my dream.
I know the feeling...
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