Ever since the demise of the Ford Focus aka Hocus Focus, I inherited my fathers SUV. I have gone from $20 a month in gas to $85. I would do a mileage log, but when work is 1.6 miles away, who wants to read a constant 13 mpg for the last 2 years. So with my mechanical prowess I am now searching for a cheep scoot that will net me about 80 mpg. I plan on doing the EGR-PVC catch can, ignition upgrades and going to a flat slide carb, vs. a butterfly style, to decrease fuel droplets. The speed limits in my little town in Utah is between 30 and 40, so it's all city. Not to mention, the SUV is cush, luxurious, automatic and computer controlled. Lets face it, I need a project and regardless of gas prices, I would like to save the gas money.
Mine is 14 miles one way. And in the summer I did it by bicycle a few times. Once I did thrice in a row. And stopped on the way home to swim in the lake
When I lived 3 miles from my workplace I walked or pedaled.
On smaller (but non-zero) footprint vehicles: but most frequently, I do this 2*14 miles by a 650cc single cylinder motorcycle (BMW F650CS), a.k.a. Teresa. I can get 80+ mpg in the summer. In the winter, I can't. And I couldn't ride to work this winter, it was very snowy.
For such a short commute, assuming you aren't piling on the miles anywhere else, it's going to take forever to recoup even the smallest investment. I'm with those guys, don't bother with anything that burns fuel for such a short distance, bicycle/walk and take the guzzler when weather is severe.
Then you still need a project, but the project can be anything you want, not something that needs to pay for itself in fuel savings.
Although the commute is short, that's probably not the only driving done on a weekly basis. I live 1.5 miles from work, but I usually drive at least 10 miles a day. My pick is to find a decent used Ninja 250 or Buell Blast on Craigslist. If you shop around, you should be able to find a decent running one (probably not pretty though) for under $1,000. Either bike should be able to top 60 MPG easily, and there are users out there that got those bikes to 90 and 100 MPG. The payback in fuel savings should be about a year if the purchase price is kept reasonably low.
There are 2 hills I have to climb. The first is progressive, but the second is a 1/2 mile monster. I can't go to work covered in sweat. Plus due to my finances, I am buying used and will do repairs. Found a couple, so I will post as soon as I buy. The electric bike sounds good, even considered an e-car, but even with my years of junk yard picking, an electric is just out of my means. So it's off to scootin.
Yes, used is the way to go, I'm looking at an 08 for 150 and a 07 for 200. Most of them are owned by students and put up for winter. One needs a carb clean out, the other a battery and ignition switch. So a little work for a greater return. The return value will be almost instant, for the low investment. Selling some eBay stuff to pay for it.