Car pooling, also known as ride-sharing, can save you big bucks on gas, wear and tear on your vehicle, oil resources and reduce all the associated nasty environmental impact associated with driving.
When you drive to work, are you alone or do you have room for other passengers? Have you ever noticed how many others around you are driving on their own too?
In the USA, single occupant commuting is around 75% according to census data.
There are millions of us who engage in solitary travel to and from work; driving billions of miles each year, spending a stack of cash on gas and pumping tons of emissions into the atmosphere.
According to the SightLine Insitute (single passenger statistics):
– A small car emits around .59 pounds of carbon dioxide per mile
– A medium car emits around 1.1 pounds of carbon dioxide per mile
– An SUV/4 wheel emits around 1.57 pounds of carbon dioxide per mile
Car pooling advantages
Just putting aside the gloom and doom aspect of the environmental impact of fossil fuels; consider even the cost saving aspect. It’s not uncommon to save a couple hundred dollars a month in transport costs by sharing a ride with someone else. In some cities, you can also save on tolls and parking if your vehicle has multiple occupants.
It’s not just the cost of gas, tolls and parking, but city driving is notorious for causing wear on vehicles – all the stopping and starting wears out engines, brakes and gearboxes, not to mention tire wear. According to the American Automobile Association, it costs an average of 26.2 cents per mile to drive a car; and that’s just gas and wear and tear combined.
According to a recent US study, “Commuting in America”:
– U.S. drivers wasted 4.2 billion hours sitting in traffic in 2005
– Traffic delays chewed through 2.9 billion gallons of fuel
– In Los Angeles, the average driver wastes 72 hours per year going nowhere.
If everyone car pooled, imagine the many hundreds of thousands of vehicles that would be off the road each day. This would lessen traffic congestion, making trips faster, cutting fuel and car maintenance costs even further. Some places even have roads with designated lanes for multiple occupant vehicles and we expect to see more of this in the years ahead.
Through sharing a ride, you’ll meet other people. Our online world is steadily disconnecting people and that can be unhealthy for many folks. For some people, there’s nothing like a pep session before the daily grind and a counselling session immediately afterwards.
Also, if you find driving to work stressful, car pooling can alleviate the frustration in travelling to and from the workplace. You may even find time to carry out other tasks during the drive instead, such as preparing for meetings etc.
Flexibility through technology
In the early days of car pooling, it was fairly restrictive and it could be difficult to find people you get along with to team up to share a ride. Now many online services and apps have sprung up that provide a good choice of people to ride share with and therefore greater flexibility with your own timetable. Better online resources will offer the following matching:
Geographic – matching departure and destination routes
Chronological – matching times of departure and arrival
Personal Preferences. – Points such as whether you wish to be a driver and/or passenger, gender preferences, smoker/non-smoker – some even provide matching for music choices.
Here’s some online car pooling resources to check out
Another great idea is to look for potential car poolers where you work. Sending out an email or working with HR to see who might be interested. Connecting coworkers that live near each other can help start a carpool or a series of carpools. Often times having someone organize and get the conversation started is all that is needed to bring upon change.