Two women I worked with and I carpooled for the last 6 months I worked at my previous job. I averaged about 2 days a week that they drove. The other days, either it was my turn or I had to go straight to soccer practice or some other event from work, so couldn’t carpool. I decided to see how much money carpooling saved and hence this post was born.
Why Carpooling Saves Money
What surprised me, and may you too, is that there are multiple ways carpooling saves money:
1. The obvious - gas. I drive a Chevy Tahoe that gets crappy 14 mpg. My office is about 14 miles each direction – so 28 miles roundtrip. That is 2 gallons of gas. Gas at Costco this week was $3.39 per gallon. $3.39/gal x 2 gal x 2 days/wk x 52 wks/yr = $705 per year.
**Note: I have a program that emails me the lowest local gas prices, but I can’t find it right now. I will post when I get my next email. In the meantime try gasbuddy.com (I don’t like it because it doesn’t include the grocery store gas stations) or fuelmeup.com to compare local gas station prices before filling up.
2. Not as obvious - saves time. Our route to work includes the highway and when we carpooled, we were able to use the HOV lane. Everyone in my office is paid hourly, therefore, if we get to work more quickly, then we are paid for more time. Assume you make $20/hr and get to work 30 minutes earlier than normal. Assuming carpooled an average of 4 days per week, so $10 per extra time x 4 days/wk x 52 wks/yr = $2,080 per year. You can do the math for your situation.
3. Really a surprise - accountability. I was burnt out on my job, so was horrible about dragging around in the morning, taking a “mental health” day if I just didn’t want to go that day, or leaving work early because I was annoyed or frustrated with something. But, on the days I carpooled, I had other people holding me accountable. Therefore, I couldn’t waste time in the morning, was less likely to take a mental health day, and was pretty much stuck there until the end of the work day. This works in reverse though too. I couldn’t work late when I was in the middle of something because other people were counting on me to drive them home.
Therefore, I didn’t put a dollar amount to this method. There are days I would have stayed later if I weren’t carpooling. However, the benefit was that it kept me accountable to going home for dinner – which was more precious to me than the money.
What about you? Do you carpool? If not, why not?