# The car will she as quickly as we think?

I bounce on the mail Surun Pierre appeared in the West of France on Saturday (April 9 2005).

I asked myself about the average real speed of a motorist who according to Pierre Surun puts 500 euros per month in his car.
Even if on highway the maximum speed allowed is 130 km / h, it is generally not possible to exceed 100 km / h average speed on these long stages of asphalt. It is necessary to count the stops to rest and often one does not deprive oneself during these long stages. To make sure that the average speed on the highway does not exceed 100 km / h, it is enough to observe the trucks that we double twice on the long journeys and which took advantage of our stop to take again in advance . On long journeys on national and departmental roads, the average falls to 60 km / h while respecting speed limits. With daily journeys, more journeys in urban areas, one realizes that the overall average of the motorist is only 40 km / h. Either the respectable speed of a car without a license or twice the speed of a right bike: 20 km / h!
But to this must be added the "lost time to earn money" to pay the right to drive. Based on Pierre Surun's 500 euros per month, which represents the total cost of a car, I counted that on average the French work 650 hours / year to pay for the purchase of the vehicle, maintenance, insurance and also taxes to maintain the road.
With my 40 km / h average speed and knowing that the French travel on average 14000 km per year (less for gasoline and more for diesel), I deduce that the French roll 350 hours per year (roughly speaking 1 hour by day, which gives a good order of magnitude).
By accumulating the time spent working to afford this right to travel and the time actually spent in his car to move, we see that the average speed falls to 14 km / h (14000 km / 350 h + 650 h ).
Add to this the social and economic costs of pollution and the actual average speed drops to 8 or 6 km / h.
And I come to the simple conclusion: at this rate, would not it be better for us to use what nature has given us, namely our legs!
And I open this reflection on the interest of recumbent bikes. These bikes are up to 30% more efficient than straight bikes and you can almost easily reach average speeds in the range of 25 to 30 km / h. When you know the real speed of a car, it's worth looking into the possibility of replacing your car with an efficient bike.

Read also: Mini power station in the cellar: the fuel cell, solution of the future?

Eric Souffleux, from Nantes 26 years. (mail sent on 13 April 2005)

Publication in the West of France 14 and 15 2005 April.