Millions of people drive a great distance by themselves to and from work each day. As the cost of gas continues to rise, more and more people are exploring other options for their daily commute. Using a public transit service, biking to work and ride sharing are all becoming more and more popular throughout the country.
Ride sharing, also known as carpooling or vanpooling, has minimal costs because it makes use of vehicle seats that would otherwise be unoccupied. Unlike public transit services, ride sharing does not require a paid driver; therefore it will have an overall lower cost per mile. Ride sharing is ideal for longer commutes of at least 10 miles or more and is one of the most common and cost effective alternative modes of transportation.
Here is a rundown of the benefits of carpools, followed by some links to helpful resources to get you started.
Cost and Benefits of Carpooling
The American Automobile Association reports it costs an average of 54.1 cents per mile to drive a car. This average takes into account gasoline, oil, maintenance, tires and vehicle depreciation. On a 50 mile round-trip commute, the cost is $27.50 per day, $577 per month, and an eye-popping $6,924 per year. Once you factor in tolls and the cost of parking, your commute gets even more expensive.
Using your car less will reduce the amount of gasoline and maintenance you need to operate it, which will save you money. Some insurance companies even offer discounts for reduced driving. Also, if you lease a car, you might be able to reduce your monthly payment by leasing at a lower annual mileage if you intend on ride sharing.
Carpools offer Flexibility
You don’t have to ride share everyday or even roundtrip, which makes it a very flexible option. If there are certain days of the week that work best for you, just ride share on those days. Many ride shares make things as convenient as possible for all riders by making the arrangements as close to door-to-door as possible. By ride sharing you can often have a faster commute because you can take advantage of the HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes that are restricted for vehicles with only one rider.
Environmental Impact of Carpooling
Carpooling can significantly reduce greenhouse emissions. According to one report, driving just 10 percent less, by walking, cycling, carpooling, or taking public transit, can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 0.2 to 0.8 tonnes per year. By driving less it will help improve the air quality and result in cleaner air. In fact, car pooling for just three days a week can cut individual ozone producing emissions by 30 percent.
If you’re not sure how to get started there are various ride share websites that can help you get connected with other commuters in your area. Below are five online resources to help get you on your way to saving money and reducing your transportation footprint.
- Ridesearch – helps you find other commuters in the area for a safe, secure rideshare experience.
- Ride Share Directory – offers a national and regional directory of ride share links
- eRideShare – connects you with other commuters and gives tips on ride sharing
- Commute Smart – connects commuters in the Southern California area
- 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.
- Craigslist – offers rideshare listings by city.
- Carpool Connect – helps you find carpool and rideshare opportunities in your neighborhood.
Photo Credit: Tronics
Published or updated December 8, 2011.