With gas prices at record highs, most of us are faced with tough financial decisions. One such decision is whether or not carpooling is a viable option to save money on gas.
On average American workers live 16 miles away from work, and with gas prices rising (currently over $4 per gallon), your commuting budget is hitting the roof. For a normal 40-hour, five-day work week, and with a modern average of 20 MPG, you’ll spend around $1,600 per year on fuel alone.
If you carpooled even half the time, the extra money could be used to build up savings, pay down debt, budget for vehicle repair and maintenance or even take a vacation.
What is Carpooling
Carpooling, also known as ride-sharing or car-sharing, means that a group of people share one vehicle to get to work. In a typical arrangement, each member of the carpool group takes a turn driving the others on designated days. The more people in your carpool group, the more money you’ll save.
What Are the Benefits of Carpooling to Work
Carpooling Saves on Fuel
Instead of five cars driving to and from work, you have one car on the road and save one-fifth of the expense. Avoid refilling gas up near major highway exits, which tend to be pricier.
RELATED: 7 Ways to Reduce the Cost of Your Commute
Reduce Maintenance Cost
You’ll save money on maintenance by reducing the number of miles you drive per day. When driving your vehicle, carpooling allows you to share this cost of the rides with your friend or passengers, or you may be able to alternate the vehicles being driven between your fellow carpoolers, which evenly distributes costs and vehicle wear and tear.
RELATED: 5 Effortless Ways to Plan For Your Car Maintenance
Another benefit of carpooling is it can also save you time, especially if you live in a busy city. Most major cities encourage carpooling by offering high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, allowing you to cruise by stop-and-go highway traffic based on the number of passengers in your car. If everybody did this, it could mean thousands of vehicles off the road each day and less time on the road for everyone.
Low Carbon Emission
Carpooling also benefits the environment and our communities. It lowers carbon emissions while reducing the level of pollution in the air. Even if everybody carpooled with just one other person, we’d eliminate countless pounds of carbon dioxide every day while reducing air pollution in general. The higher number of cars on the road continues to have a serious environmental impact.
Reduce Traffic Congestion
Carpooling helps reduce the number of vehicles on the road. Let’s think about this when an average sedan is filled to capacity, that’s four fewer full-sized cars on the road. Joining a carpool will help you play your part in reducing the heavy congestion that many metropolitan areas are known for.
One of the advantages of carpooling is getting to socialize and network on your way into the office. To find a person (or three) with whom to share a ride, start with your coworkers. This is an obvious one because you’re commuting to the same place every day!
Below are four online resources to help get you on your way to saving money and reducing your transportation footprint.
- eRideShare – connects you with other commuters and gives tips on ridesharing
- Waze Carpool connects riders and drivers by taking note of rideshare technologies. Car owners who would prefer to get reimbursed for their route can create their driver profiles, setting their vehicle information and two-way route, through the normal Waze app.
- Ride Share Online helps arrange daily commutes and cross-country trips
- nuride – is an online community where you can save money and earn rewards when you carpool, vanpool, bike, walk, telecommute or take public transit.
- Carpool World: Offers free rideshare resources and an app.
Change Your Driving Habits
It only makes sense that the first step to save money on gas involves rethinking how you use your car. The idea is to change the driving habits that cause you to keep going to the gas pump. Several possible scenarios can happen when you examine your driving habits, such as deciding to buy a more energy-efficient car or opting to walk/cycle on shorter journeys.
Properly Maintain Car
Many factors can affect your car costs, such as conducting the necessary maintenance your car needs. Before you drive, be sure to kick the tires to make sure they’re not under-inflated. If they are, you will likely burn more fuel per mile than when your tires are correctly inflated.
Use Apps To Shop Around
Use apps like Waze or GasBuddy to find cheaper gas. Before you get your tank filled, use any of these apps to find where the cheapest gas in your vicinity is.
Shop for the Right Fuel-Saving Car
So, you’ve decided to change cars, and you’re looking into fuel-saving vehicles. If that’s the case, remember to be smart about it. When gas prices increase, the sales of fuel-efficient cars often increase as well. Because everyone is looking to save on gas, the competition for fuel-saving cars drives up their prices.
What are some of the different ways you can save money on gas?