It seems that one of the main things I read on personal finance and blogs dealing with frugality and saving money to tell you ditch the car when it comes to commuting. You move as close to possible to work and then use a bicycle or walk to commute. I fully agree that this can cut spending down tremendously especially when your cost of fuel plummets as well as the maintenance on your car for when only using it for long distance trips when necessary.
Right now that is just not in the plans for me; as much as I would like it to be in the future. So I’ve been looking for other ways to cut down on the costs of commuting. I have looked into a few mass transit options and while they are less than convenient, I will admit I still haven’t fully researched those options.
But this leads me to a new solution: carpooling! I’m lucky that I have coworker that lives around me that is also looking to save some money and is willing to carpool with me. We are going to start out with each just doing 1 day a week, so I’ll be driving 4 days a week instead of 5, not a bad way to start.
Here’s the current breakdown:
- My drive to work is around 16 miles each way, for 32 miles round trip
- That’s around 160 miles a week just from commuting!
- 52 weeks in a year, but I’ll use 48 to account for holidays, working from home when it snows, etc: so that’s 7680 miles a year – just from commuting
Here is how my new commute will look:
- 32 miles round trip for 3 days a week: 96 miles
- One day I will be getting a ride
- On the day where I drive my coworker, it will be a 44 mile round trip
- That totals to 140 miles a week, so I’ll save around 20 miles a week
- That will have me end up around 6720 miles a year – almost 1000 less miles!
Just for fun, if we both decided to do 2 days a week it would like:
- 32 miles round trip for 1 day a week
- Two days I’ll be getting a ride
- Two days where I drive, it would be 88 miles a week
- That would be 120 miles a week
- I would now be all the way down at 5760 miles a year
After looking at the numbers, it’s really amazing that more people don’t take advantage of this! Now I know it’s hard to coordinate a lot of the times, and like I said – I’m lucky to have a coworker that lives such a close distance to me. But it’s amazing when you are sitting in traffic and every single car only has 1 person in it. Imagine how much better the traffic would be if only 25% of those people could carpool a few days a week? Or if we stopped using the car to take 2-3 mile trips to the grocery store and instead took bicycles.
As you can see from the above picture, carpooling has gone down dramatically over the last thirty years. If you can carpool, take mass transit, or even ditch the car all together and take a bike to work – I would highly recommend it. At an estimated cost of $0.50 a mile, these savings can really add up over the course of employment.