Monday, March 3, 2008

#184 - The Carpool Lane

Carpooling to Save Gas

Well I am just rollin' with the gasoline saving changes, aren't I? Today I've got a great one -- carpooling! A totally obvious solution to slowing our gas consumption that I've managed to avoid for over six months. But with crude oil prices running over $100 a barrel, I'd say this is a great time to start!

I know, I know, I work from home so where, exactly, would I carpool to? Why, to preschool and the local fish store, of course! My friend, (yes, I have one) Jennifer, and I have decided to start carpooling. For her, it's a way to save some cash, for me a way to save the environment. Both excellent reasons to give it a try!

So, on Mondays - Thursdays, I'll be dropping her son, Conner, off at his preschool, and once a week, we'll head up to the fancy side of town to hit the fish market, crunchy granola store, and coffee shop together to buy us some local seafood. Oh wait, that means we're saving money, saving the environment and having fun running our collective errands -- three great reasons to carpool!

Carpooling is a great way to save resources and money. And if you live in a decent-sized metropolitan area, there's the added bonus of getting to use the HOV lanes. So why not ask around and see if any of your friends or neighbors are up for it? You might be surprised to find that they would like to do it, but feel funny asking. Remember, it never hurts to ask and the worst they can say is "no". Well, I guess the worst they could say is "No you freaky-ass eco-dork, get the hell off my chemically-treated lawn and step away from gas-guzzling Hummer before I call the cops!.... AGAIN" But if they say that, you should really think about whether or not you want to be their friend. And whether it was wise to violate that restraining order.

If you don't have any friends or neighbors to ask, you could always check out a rideshare program like Ridecheck, eRideShare, or google your metro area or state name plus the words "ride share car pool" to find a rideshare program local to your area.


I'll be saving Jennifer a ten-mile (round trip) drive four mornings per week. Our weekly errand-running savings is a 35 mile (round trip) drive. Together, that's a savings of 75 miles per week. We both drive minivans that average about 20 mpg city driving which gives us a total gasoline savings of 3.75 gallons.

And, at $3.00 a gallon, that equates to a combined dollar savings of $11.25 per week. Sweet.

Difficulty Level: 2 out of 5

The only pain in the ass here will be moving car seats. Other than that, I already drive past Conner's preschool every day so that's no problem. And getting together to run errands is a lot of fun -- much better than going it alone! All in all, this is going to be a fun change to make!


Joyce said...

Frustratingly, I can't remember who said this, but I know that I have read that the number one thing we can do for the environment is change the way we transport ourselves (#2 being change the way we heat and cool our homes).
Anyway, you probably already knew that. But I know how hard it is to change those habits! My husband and I have focused on that for the last few years, and have become pretty faithful cyclers/mass transit users. However this would not have been an option at all back when our children were little. Hats off to you and your friend for trying to find a way to reduce your car use-and I'm jealous of all the fun you are going to have doing it!

Crunchy Chicken said...

Nice! It's so hard to arrange carpooling. Congrats on finding something that will work and be fun! Well, the shopping part, I'm not sure about the extra rider part.

Allie said...

You know, I don't commute, so I never think about carpooling, but there's no reason I can't run errands with other people and cut down on gas. Great idea!

Green Bean said...

Awesome! Good for you! I've not done well with the carpooling thing. In fact, the totally hot bicycle my husband bought me used last year has languished, pretty much unused, in my garage all winter. (No excuse, it's often sunny here in Nor Cal). I really need to look into carpooling - you inspired me here. Errands is a great alternative if school isn't a possibility. Thanks!

Carpool Guy said...

i'm carpooling since 3 months now. talk to your boss, maybe you can adjust your worktimes so that it matches your carpool times. was a bit annoying the first week when i was always 30 mins to early at work and my carpool partner had to wait 30 mins in the afternoon for me :)

SVA Search said...

Yeah the hardest part in finding a rideshare/carpool is searching for one in the right website...Keeping that in mind, I just started this site:

I just designed this rideshare/carpool site for India and USA. Trying to get the word out desperately to people...Hopefully this blog can do the trick for me.