NEW YORK (CBS) ― Spending over $4 a gallon for gas has most of us fuming, so many commuters are seeking alternatives. But step aside hybrid cars; commuters are now going two wheeling. New Yorkers are turning to battery assisted bicycles for their daily commute, and the benefits are significant.
Barbara Roberts, a senior financial adviser, commutes daily from her Tarrytown home to her Midtown office by train. But looking to lighten her carbon footprint, she now leaves her car at home.
Roberts has left her gas-guzzler behind for commuting. She tells CBS 2 how she used to fill up twice a week. Now, she tells CBS 2, she fills up once every two weeks, thanks to her new two wheel commute.
Roberts is like many other consumer conscious commuters these days, opting for a gas buster: battery assisted bike to get her to the train and beyond. On a tour of her very hilly town, she shows how it's a breeze to navigate, thanks to her electric bike, it is capable of reaching 15 mph and she always finds a parking spot at the train station.
NYCeWheels in Manhattan is seeing more two wheel converts every day. The Upper East Side bike shop is the largest U.S. retailer of electric bikes, which run from $1,100 to $2,200.
"It's really starting to blow up and there are a lot more people interested," said Charlie Allen. Allen, who works at the bike shop, says just as gas prices have skyrocketed from $2 and change a year ago to $4 today, so has the interest in their bikes for getting around town. "$4 gallon gas prices have really hurt a lot of people. They are searching for safe, healthy alternatives," said Allen.
Helping people save on gas isn't the only benefit from purchasing an electric bike. The benefits are environmental as well. Experts say emissions from cars dwarf that of power plants. By using a bicycle to commute to and from work, four days a week, you can save over 100 gallons of gas a year. Roberts estimates she spends just $1 to charge and use her electric bike for an entire month of use.