Cars have their advantages. They get us where we need to go quickly, and they're easy to drive. But they pollute the planet and keep us from being active. Most of us now lead sedentary lives, and it's killing our health.

Trading in your car for a bike will not only save you money on gas (and car payments); it will also save your health. According to, only about 1% of all trips taken in the United States are by bicycle.

Here are five good reasons to trade in your gas-guzzler for a shiny, new bicycle.

1. You'll Improve Your Health

Biking to and from work each morning will keep you active, helping you stay healthy in the long-run.

One study from the UK found that active commuting to work is associated with reductions in BMI and body fat percentage. Those who cycled to work saw the most benefits, but walking was the next-best mode of active transportation.

The number of calories you burn while cycling will depend on your speed and weight, but a 150-pound person biking at 12-14 mph will burn about 198 calories in 20 minutes. If it takes you 40 minutes to bike to work, that equates to about 400 calories burned.

Biking will help improve your cardiovascular health while building strength in your legs and core.

2. You'll Be Happier

Biking can help you maintain a healthy weight while improving your physique. Both of these effects may give you a little confidence boost.

You'll also be spending more time outdoors. Studies have shown that spending time in nature can help reduce symptoms of depression and is associated with better overall well-being.

Some healthy sun exposure will also ensure that you're getting enough vitamin D, which will also help boost your mood.

3. You'll Save Money

Let's face it – owning a car is expensive. First, you have to buy the car (hello, monthly payments). Then you have to pay for insurance, gas, registration and maintenance.

Nerdwallet estimates that a car driven 15,000 miles a year costs about $8,469 per year to own.

A bicycle, on the other hand, is cheap to own. Forbes estimates that it costs about $1,112 per year to own a bike – and that includes the purchase price. Take good care of your bike, and you'll probably spend about half that each year on maintenance.

There's no doubt about – biking is so much cheaper than driving.

4. You'll Help Save the Planet

Choosing to bike around town and to work will help save the planet. Bikes don't pollute the earth, and manufacturing one uses only about 5% of the energy and materials used to make cars.

Biking reduces CO2 emissions, pollution and our dependence on oil. The earth will thank you for choosing two wheels over four.

5. You Might Get a Sweet New Ride

Want even more of an incentive to give up your car? Electric bike shop The New Wheel in San Francisco will let you trade in your old car for a new e-bike.

While you browse or test drive their bikes, the shop's staff will assess the condition and mileage of your vehicle. Within 48 hours, they'll make you an offer. If you accept, they'll even come to your house to pick up your car and give you a check.

You won't be required to use that money to buy an e-bike, but that's the company's goal.