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The Opportunity Cost of the Commute

cmares28 Posted by cmares28 in Economics & Personal Finance on Apr 27, 2012 9:34:22 AM

From college@home: We spend an average of 38 minutes a day in a car driving to and from work. The opportunity cost of the time spent driving is the what other wants you may have fulfilled without having to drive. It is likely the case that all of these other wants could not be accomplished without driving to your job in the first place, therefore cutting out the drivetime is not feasible. So what to do then?


My advice is to make the time spent in your car as productive as possible. If you drive to and from work alone this is accomplished more easily. First step, turn off the radio. Second step, turn on your iPod. If you have a tape deck buy a car kit that will allow you to run the sound from your iPod through the car stereo. If not by an AV in/out stereo cable and plug your iPod into the CD player. You must have an AV out plug on your deck to do this. If you have neither of the first two options use headphones. I am not suggesting that you simply turn off the music on the radio and substitute your own tunes. You will be more productive if you just turn off the music altogether. You already know all the words to the song.


Take advantage of the time you spend in your car to learn new and interesting ideas from others. You can do this by listening to podcasts and then researching the content presented afterword.


Where should you start: I endorse the podcast host by Russ Roberts of George Mason University, Econtalk. Russ is a gracious host, a knoweledgable debator and has had a vast array of different economists and other notables on his program since 2006. New podcasts appear every Monday and archives date back to the beginning (2006). Some of the previous guests: Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman, Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Greg Mankiw, Tyler Cowen, Don Boudreaux, Michael Munger, Nobel Laureate Bob Lucas, Nobel Laureate Vernon Smith, Nassim Taleb, and Nobel Laureate Gary Becker.


Happy Listening!