Cutting Costs on Transportation (Even When Biking and Walking Aren’t Options)

When I read stories about people who bike or walk to work, I can't relate. I do walk and bike, but just for exercise. There is nothing to walk to around here — unless you count the post office five miles away.

My husband and I have looked for ways to decrease our transportation costs, but we need to be more creative. For example, we bought our house from a guy who had his own way of hoofing it. He rode his horse four miles to the main highway, tied up the horse for the day, and was picked up by a friend to go to school. Of course, that happened in the early 1950s, and it was a road less traveled then.

But it's not the fifties anymore. And the only horsepower I have is a car, racking up more miles every day.

Background
My commute, like many other rural workers, is high-mileage (100 miles round-trip). Without a doubt, this is costing us. But the question is: How much? Maybe the bigger question is: What can we do about it?

According to a report at AAA.com, driving my medium sedan 20,000 miles annually costs me $9,519 or 47.6 cents per mile. This estimate includes fuel, maintenance, tires, insurance, license, registration, taxes, financing, and depreciation. It may not be completely accurate for me (I drive more, but my insurance costs less), but close enough.

Transportation Solutions
When evaluating the options below, I multiplied every mile I didn't drive by 47.6 cents to see how much money I could save over a 48-week work year.

  • Work from home. Working 100% from home is not an option for me in my current position, unfortunately, but I can work from home 24 Fridays a year — and save $1142.
  • Work less. Working four longer days and having one day completely off would save $2285.
  • Carpool. Another woman I know works for the same employer. She lives on the way (though 15 miles from me) and would be a great carpooling companion. If we each drove two days a week, I would have a 30 mile commute (and save 140 miles) over the two days she drove. This would save me $3199.
  • Downsize. Changing to a small sedan drops my per mile cost to 36.6 cents. This change (at 20,000 miles) would save me $2,200.
Note: At first, I forgot that as I drive less, the cost per mile increases. Saving 140 miles a week in the carpooling example would actually save me 6720 miles annually, so I would drop down to the 15,000 mile category, $8,436 annually, and 56.2 cents per mile. Savings? $4,659. Apparently, the less you drive, the more significant the cost cutting measures.

Then there are the “little wins”: Not speeding, properly inflated tires, an empty trunk, and driving without the air conditioning or heat all save money on fuel costs. Of the 47.6 cents per mile, 11.97 cents are fuel costs. Saving 50% — although I don't know how much these changes would save — of my fuel costs would save me only six cents per mile. Clearly the best option is to concentrate on the big wins and do the little wins if I can (or if I want to…and in the case of no air conditioning or heat, I don't want to).

Additional ways to save
There are some other ways I could save money on transportation.

  • Batching errands. Fortunately, almost everywhere I shop is near my workplace or on the way to work. I do my best to do all shopping to and from work.
  • Going to one car. My husband's employer provides a vehicle and reimburses him for approximately 50% of his fuel costs. (Very nice.) If we only had one vehicle, I could drop him off to and from work. Inconvenient, but possible.
  • Get mileage reimbursement. My job requires some driving during work hours. I can either use an employer car for that time or be reimbursed.
  • Mutual mooching. Okay, this method doesn't really save me money on transportation, but I said I needed to be creative, right? Several people often have things they need in the city where I work. At first, I was happy to pick things up for them…but then I started getting cranky. It took extra time to pick up and drop off, etc., etc. My “customers” and I now have an agreement. In return for their item, I get a hot meal. My husband and I eat for free that night. They save time and gas. And everyone is happy.

Taking an in-depth look at our transportation costs (and the financial bite behind them) motivated me to work from home more and seriously consider carpooling. Eventually, I would like to work from home completely, but, for now, this gives me cost-cutting options.

Do you live in a rural area? Or are you somewhere with poor alternative transportation options. If so, what ways have you found to save on commuting?

More about...Frugality, Transportation

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Lance@MoneyLife&More
8 years ago

I think the biggest keys are having a car with good gas mileage and batching errands. If you’re always forgetting things then you’ll spend a ton more in gas going to the grocery store multiple times per week. I think a lot of people forget this and just drive whenever the whim hits them.

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago

I’m always amazed at the people around here who *do* bike in from rural outlying areas, sometimes in triple digit weather on gravel roads and highway shoulders. They get into work soaked and change clothes (at least the professors do… I have suspicions about some of the students). I would totally pass out. I’ve always thought our HOA would be greatly improved by an ice cream shop. If there were something to walk to besides a dentist and a church, we’d walk more. We decided to live close to work rather than out in a more rural area so as… Read more »

Holly@ClubThrifty
8 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

I totally agree that I am amazed at people who bike to work….especially on a day like today when it is going to be over 100 degrees!

My husband and I work together and carpool about 75% of the time. We do have two cars, though, because I don’t like getting “stuck” anywhere. If something ever happens to my mini-van, I don’t think we would replace it. Sometimes I get sick of seeing it just sit there.

Clint
Clint
8 years ago

You may not be as amazed if you think about it a little more. It’s going to approach 100 here today, but when I took off in the morning it was in the 70s. With speed and a shade a good part of the way (for me) it was downright comfortable. Going home won’t be as pleasant, but I’ll be smiling thinking about all the money I’m saving and all the free exercise I’m getting.

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago
Reply to  Clint

A. It doesn’t get down to the 70s even at night this time of year (this is a humid land)
B. Shade would require trees or something else higher than ankle-height
C. Anything that results in someone’s shirt (and probably pants, but biking shorts don’t show) being soaked through with sweat cannot be unimpressive.

I have a difficult time getting between the car and the building at 7am, and I get in long before any biking colleagues. They’re just hard-core. Having thought about it, I remain impressed.

Holly@ClubThrifty
8 years ago
Reply to  Clint

Actually, I did think about it. I wear a suit to work every day and have to drop off my kids at daycare on the way to work….so there is no way that I would/should consider biking to work. I don’t think my kids would like riding in a little trailer behind my bike. Maybe I’m wrong. Also, at 9:00 p.m. last night, it was still in the 90’s where I live. It was over 80 degrees this morning when I left for work as well. I do, however, have a Toyota Prius that gets 50+ mpg. I also only… Read more »

Clint
Clint
8 years ago
Reply to  Clint

Three miles! That’s 15-20 min of great exercise and needed sun! A bike trailer for the kids that you could dock at the center maybe? Just think of the money saving and health lessons you could be passing on to the little ones! 😉 That said, I’d love a Prius.

Jeremy
Jeremy
8 years ago
Reply to  Clint

When I was in my early 30s, I lived in California – I rode my bike about 5 miles to my job – it was a much cooler morning commute though. Afternoons were sometimes a bit warm. I kept my suit coat and tie in a bag on my back, and used elastic to keep my pants legs from becoming a problem. Now that I am in Colorado and not quite so young I’m not sure how I would fare with the inclines on the roads…

Holly@ClubThrifty
8 years ago
Reply to  Clint

I can just picture it….

Me..in my black suit (I work in a mortuary)…riding my bike to work with my kids in a little cart in the back…with terrified looks on their little faces.

No, but seriously, my Prius is awesome.

getagrip
getagrip
8 years ago

With respect to the note: the less you drive the more insurance, registration, etc. which are fixed costs count towards the cost per mile overall which drives the cost per mile up. Frankly, I’d prefer to drop them from the equation because you’re paying those for owning the car whether its parked or moving.

Amanda
Amanda
8 years ago
Reply to  getagrip

Insurance isn’t necessarily a fixed cost. When my yearly driving habits decreased dramatically, so did my insurance.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Amanda

Yes! Where I live (Ontario), commuting makes the difference in your premiums. It doesn’t matter if you drive your car everyday for other reasons (lessons, visiting friends, etc.), as long as you aren’t driving it to work the vehicle is considered “pleasure use”.

When you consider the accidents that happen during rush hour and on busy commuter routes like highways, it makes sense.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  getagrip

Ooops. I forgot to add that I agree license and registration fees could be dropped from the calculations. We have to pay them regardless of how much or how little we drive.

The only way they really figure into the equation is if you’re thinking of getting rid of a car.

Chris
Chris
8 years ago

Just a point of note: using the heat in your car does not use fuel. The A/C does – the compressor puts extra load on your engine. But the heater uses waste heat from your engine (which would have otherwise been lost via the radiator). The climate control fan uses excess electricity from your alternator. Also: if you *do* use the a/c, don’t be afraid to use the “max” setting. I had a friend who, for years refused to use “max” – even in Texas summers – because he was afraid he’d wear out the a/c faster. “Max” is just… Read more »

John
John
8 years ago
Reply to  Chris

According to Cartalk.com, driving with the windows open at highway speed is likely to reduce your fuel economy more than using your a/c (due to aerodynamic effects).

Rusty Williams
Rusty Williams
8 years ago
Reply to  John

I saw a show on mythbuster about this. THey came to the opposite result in their test. The windows down had less affect on the mpg than using the a/c. They tested identical cars with a same amount of gas added and drove them on a race track to see which ran out of fuel faster, and it was the one with the a/c running.

Interesting that cartalk finds the opposite.

Dana
Dana
8 years ago
Reply to  Rusty Williams

They retested that myth. They used these mpg computers that plug into the car. If I remember correctly, windows down is more fuel efficient than A/C until about 55mpg, then the A/C is better. But since then I’ve read it depends on the type of car, too.

tekym
tekym
8 years ago
Reply to  Rusty Williams

You’re half right – it’s entirely speed-dependent. At low speeds, windows down is more efficient. At highway speeds, though, A/C is more efficient; aerodynamic drag is by far the largest thing that affects fuel economy for any car, and drag increases with the cube of the speed (speed^3), whereas A/C, being belt-driven in most cars, uses a constant percentage of the engine’s power output.

In the Mythbusters’ test their threshold between windows being more efficient vs A/C was I think 45 or 50mph, but they were using an SUV – a more aerodynamic car would change (probably decrease) the threshold.

Lisa Aberle
Lisa Aberle
8 years ago
Reply to  John

Thanks, everyone, for the additional info on driving with heat/AC. As I mentioned, I am not interested in driving in discomfort, but thanks for sharing this for the people who may have thought about it.

RJB
RJB
8 years ago
Reply to  Chris

I should point out that there is no such thing as “excess electricity from your alternator.” If you’re running the fan, or anything else, the engine has to work a little harder to generate that amount of electricity. However, the amount needed to run a fan is very small — much less than operating the A/C. So it’s true that operating the heater, even if you turn the fan all the way up, probably doesn’t affect gas mileage at all. A/C definitely does, although it’s pretty much a necessity for a lot of us.

Chris
Chris
8 years ago
Reply to  RJB

OK, I was simplifying when I said “excess electricity”. Excess capacity, maybe I should have said. Point being that the load on the engine due to the HVAC fan drawing a bit more from the alternator is negligible.

Brett
Brett
8 years ago

Driving with the heat off doesn’t save you any gas mileage. The heat is blown off the engine which runs hot anyway.

The only way you MAY be saving some gas is the fan to blow the air off the engine won’t be running, which lightens the load on the battery and the alternator. But this savings is negligible when you consider being uncomfortably cold in February at 7 am. Seriously, driving with the heat off isn’t saving you a damn thing.

TB at BlueCollarWorkman
TB at BlueCollarWorkman
8 years ago

I have this pipe dream of moving to a more rural area because it sounds awesome. But I’ve thought about the commuting problem and where I would work. I guess this answers is, rural people commute far!

Priswell
Priswell
8 years ago

I’ve lived in the country (45 minutes away from town), and while it’s beautiful, if you work in town, you rarely get to enjoy it, because you’re always in the car. I’d prefer to live in town and schedule a day to *visit& the country.

Lisa Aberle
Lisa Aberle
8 years ago

I think living in a rural area IS awesome…but it definitely has drawbacks. The commute time is only one of them. I like Priswell’s comment.

Jeremy
Jeremy
8 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Aberle

I currently freelance and work from home – so I only buy gas once a month – sometimes less. I love the work from home option. I know it’s not always an option, but hopefully more companies will see the value in telecommuting.

Jason @ WorkSaveLive
Jason @ WorkSaveLive
8 years ago

What if you went with a 3-headed combo: (1) work less by working more (the extra hours each day and having 1 day off a week), (2) car pooling two, and (3) buying a small sedan so you save more gas on the days you car pool.

That sounds like a lot of savings to me! I’m in.

Rusty Williams
Rusty Williams
8 years ago

Same thoughts Jason, but think what time you save and what “to-dos” you could get done while the other person is driving: pay bills (if you write checks), read, exchange ideas regarding work, home life, etc.

Good luck
R

Justin @ The Family Finances
Justin @ The Family Finances
8 years ago

Luckily I live within 5 miles of my work, so cummuting costs aren’t very high. But we are hoping to move within the next few years to a smaller city roughly 30 minutes away, which will increase my commute. I agree with the first commenter that combining errands and combining trips are a key factor to lower your transportation costs, along with having a fuel-efficient vehicle. The thing about rural living, though, is that if you live in an area with harsh winters, a little fuel-sipping sedan may not be able to handle the snow and ice very well if… Read more »

Kim
Kim
8 years ago

I live in Maine where road conditions are a problem and I commute 35 miles to work. I have a fuel efficient compact car but we also have a very used 4 wheel drive “beater” pick-up that we use for many things around the house and out in the woods. If I’m really worried that my vehicle with snowtires can’t make the trip, I just take the beater. You could also consider something like an AWD Subaru as some models have pretty good MPG. I think the Legacy gets 30 MPG which is great in the world of AWD/4WD. Either… Read more »

Robert
Robert
8 years ago

I currently live 2 blocks from work and will be moving 3.5 miles from work in 2 weeks – I can’t imagine having a 50 mile each way commute. Ignoring the cost issues ($10,000 a year! – that’s crazy) – the amount of time you are wasting behind the wheel every day (what is that, at least an hour each way?) – that’s 10 hours a week of your life that your losing, 40 hours over the course of an average month – that’s like an extra week of work!

Jake
Jake
8 years ago
Reply to  Robert

With long commutes you can use that time in the car to listen to podcasts or audiobooks. At least you are using that time listening to, hopefully, thought-provoking subjects. I don’t think anyone wants to spend that much time in the car every week. I do that now. My job is located in a city that had it’s chance at being a growing and developing town but missed the boat and is now full of nursing homes and little else. It’s worth it to be in a city 45 minutes away where I can actually go do stuff after work… Read more »

Lisa Aberle
Lisa Aberle
8 years ago
Reply to  Robert

Great point! I try to use my commute well (listening to audiobooks, unwinding, etc.), but it’s still a lot of time. This little experiment actually inspired me to look at working less (for less pay), both for the time- AND money-savings.

Lisa Aberle
Lisa Aberle
8 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Aberle

Er, I reread my comment. How can I have money-savings by working less for less pay? I meant, considering the “savings” of not driving, the lower pay is not as significant as it first appeared to me. Still lower, though.

Kurt @ Money Counselor
Kurt @ Money Counselor
8 years ago

I’m surprised you didn’t mention carsharing! If you don’t need a car to get to work and live in a community with a carsharing organization, you can give up owning cars (or at least one car) and combine walking, biking, transit, taxis, conventional rental car, and carsharing to save tons of money. As AAA highlights, owning a car is very, very expensive–about $20-$25/day for the fixed costs alone of even a modest car. Wow!

Tracy
Tracy
8 years ago

Kurt, For a real world # for a modest car, consider our monthly costs for our (owned free and clear + admittedly beater) car: $55/mo in insurance, around $60 per mo in gas. We also paid about $400 for maintenance/repair/taxes in the last year, which works out to about $33 a month.
Monthly Total: $148 or $5 a day.

Jaime B
Jaime B
8 years ago

I assume she didn’t mention it because car sharing is not available in her rural area. There aren’t many car sharing options across most of the US (where I assume the author is living), even if you aren’t living rurally. I think there still aren’t any in my town and I live in the KC metro, so not exactly a small town or rural living.

Tie the Money Knot
Tie the Money Knot
8 years ago

I’ve had long commutes to work before, and my lesson has been that in terms of where to live, it’s about location, location, location. That old real estate saying applies quite well! If we live further out, we often have to commute quite far for our jobs. Ultimately, we pay either way, in terms of time or mortgage/rent. Unless we’re fortunate enough to have a short commute, which I now have but have rarely had through my working years. Anyway, to me, the big influence in cutting transportation costs is simply to keep in mind that every time drive somewhere,… Read more »

EMH
EMH
8 years ago

I would recommend using Peapod, Amazon or other online shopping sites when possible and have them shipped to your home. This would reduce the cost of some of your errand shopping.

As for the work commute, see if you can switch hours to leave earlier or later. If you are stuck in rush hour traffic with a lot of stop-and-go, then that is more wear and tear on the brakes and I believe uses more gas as well.

Joe @ Retire By 40
Joe @ Retire By 40
8 years ago

It sounds like there are not a lot of options if you live in a rural area. You do pay a lot less for housing though so I think it evens out. We live in the city and I don’t drive much at all. We paid a lot for housing though. 🙁

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 years ago

“Note: At first, I forgot that as I drive less, the cost per mile increases. Saving 140 miles a week in the carpooling example would actually save me 6720 miles annually, so I would drop down to the 15,000 mile category, $8,436 annually, and 56.2 cents per mile. Savings? $4,659. Apparently, the less you drive, the more significant the cost cutting measures.” You’re misunderstanding the implication. As you drive less, the fixed costs inherent in auto ownership (purchase, insurance, depreciation) are larger relative to the operating costs. Of the original 47.6 cents per mile, only 15-20 cents was operating costs,… Read more »

Tom
Tom
8 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I think her implication has merit. There are increasing returns for cutting your miles, even as you get below the 10k per year bucket. As previously mentioned, insurance may not be exactly a fixed cost if you move from 20k miles a year to 10k, and AAA gives you the benefit of decreased depreciation for driving less than 15,000 miles per year.

brent
brent
8 years ago
Reply to  Tom

Actually, Jonathan is right.

All of her cost saving calculations are over stated due to fixed costs. To make this clear, you just have to look at how much you will save by decreasing from 20,000 miles to 15,000 miles. The statistics she is relying on show a decrease in annual costs from $9,519 to $8,436, a savings of $1,083 or $0.217 per mile. This is way less than the $0.476 per mile used in her calculations.

js
js
8 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

what’s the point of having insurance and paying for the car when you’re not going to drive the car anyways… lol

Cars are meant to be driven and enjoyed. Yes, it is a costly expenditure, but there are ways to minimize that.

Laura
Laura
8 years ago

Lisa’s tips are good ones, although I agree with the point that running your heat won’t affect your fuel mileage. There’s one more I’d add: use a “park and ride” – drive part of the way to work, then switch over to another method of transportation. Using public transit is the most common; this may not save you money due to the cost of fare, but it can lead to peace of mind from letting someone else drive plus fewer pollutants spewing into the atmosphere. You might also be able to drive to a co-worker’s house who you could then… Read more »

Holly
Holly
8 years ago
Reply to  Laura

I miss taking the T. I used to get so much reading done!

Rail
Rail
8 years ago
Reply to  Laura

I live in Iowa and being a rural state we have limited choices on commuting. 70 years ago Iowa was served by one of the largest systems of Interurban/trolly and passenger rail in the U.S. Sadly this was dismanteled in the 50’s and 60’s and at the same time the economics of small town life changed so that people started to drive 10-20 miles for goods and services or to jobs that were moving out of the smaller towns. This has left the state as one of the leaders in miles driven commuting to work in America. I live one… Read more »

Adam
Adam
8 years ago

Great article! Transportation is the one area of my budget that I really cringe over. I will use some of your tips!

Shannon
Shannon
8 years ago

Transportation costs are a big deal. WMATA (DC Metro area) just raised its transit fare which prompted me to ask for an additional telecommute day. Fortunately my empoyer said yes. I’ve already downsized and now I need to do a better job of batching errands.

Marcia
Marcia
8 years ago

That prepared evening meal is a great idea!
You certainly are doing something for each other!

Tom
Tom
8 years ago
Reply to  Marcia

Agreed, I actually would’ve prefered to read more about this, as it is a pretty novel concept to me.

Lisa Aberle
Lisa Aberle
8 years ago
Reply to  Tom

I have other “mutual mooching” things that I do. Depending on how this audition process goes, I may share about them in the future. Or, at the very least, a reader story.

Holly
Holly
8 years ago

You forgot one of the biggest ways to save on commuting: buy a very reliable car and take good care of it. Much of the cost of commuting is the cost of the vehicle. By getting an extra 50,000 or 100,000 miles out of a car you are spreading the fixed costs over many, many more miles. And getting this kind of mileage from a car is possible. Our Honda Civic had well over 250,000 miles when we gave it away, and our last Toyota Camry had 200,000 miles when it was sold. My current Camry has 150,000 miles and… Read more »

Jo
Jo
8 years ago

At last! Someone who has the same circumstances as me. I live 20km round trip from the nearest small town and 100km from the nearest small city, (in Australia). There is no public transport round here or in the small town where I work unless you count a twice weekly bus going through north or south. I have cut my work hours to 30/fortnight but do this as 3 x 10 hour night shifts so I only HAVE to go to town those 3 days and can grocery shop on my way home. I also changed my car a couple… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago

Btw, I wanted to say I like this author. Both pieces have been solid and a nice mix.

Sandra Hale
Sandra Hale
8 years ago

Interesting article!! We actually moved from our dream home on the lake because of the commuting time and expense. Decided we would try that when we both retired. When we retired, we found out a house on the lake was not what we wanted!! LOL

Quest
Quest
8 years ago

I recently had to scrap my vehicle but didn’t want to buy another one right away. I live out in the desert which means an hour commute in any direction to get anywhere, so I’m well aware of the need to own a car when public transit is unreliable and infrequent. In our case, we purchased a small 3-cylinder commuter car that reaches in excess of 40 mpg. That was the cheapest way to get to and from work. We also car pooled and used the company van pool. Sometimes, to save money and stress especially, one of us would… Read more »

Larissa
Larissa
8 years ago

Although you live in a rural area, I would also be interested in public transportation as an option. I just moved further from my office than I have ever lived (and extra 14 miles of stop and go traffic each day). I decided I want to take public transportation 2 days a week. This will cost me $4/day or $8/week, which is significantly more than the gas I use to drive that distance. But I think my sanity, and less wear and tear on my car seem to be worth it.

Jenny
Jenny
8 years ago
Reply to  Larissa

You should also check if your employer offers a transit FSA. That is where you can pay for public transit pre-tax, in addition many transit agencies discount the cost of passes though those programs. For example I live in Minneapolis and walk to work enough that it doesn’t justify the cost of a monthly pass. A $44 on the stored value card cost $40 through the progam plus pre-tax which means I pay about $25 for $44 worth of rides which last me about 6 weeks.

Lissa
Lissa
8 years ago

My work encourages people to take public transportation because parking is expensive and hard to find here (I work in a downtown area). As an incentive, they will pay up to 75% off your public transit expenses up to a max of $65 every month. Because of this, I only drive around 6 miles a day in my hometown–to and from the bus stop. I gas up about every 3 weeks. It’s a major difference compared to my old job. I used to drive 60 miles a day and I gas up weekly.

CB
CB
8 years ago

Wow! Seems like there are a lot of ways that you’re losing $ here. Your husband gets a free car through work? Of course you should carpool with him and/or your colleague and consider downsizing to a smaller vehicle that can stay parked. Throw a roof box on top for longer trips. And working from home is a huge savings: lunch at home, no dry cleaning, et cetera. We have been a one, small-car family for the past 7 years and intend to stay that way. We are moving and are sticking with a short commute again of 2 miles… Read more »

Grad Student
Grad Student
8 years ago

I don’t comment a lot, but I wanted to throw in that I really like this article and would look forward to more from this author. While I moved to the city for grad school, I’m beginning to plan my return to rural life.

Kristen
Kristen
8 years ago

Good article – I’ve been interested to read both her posts here!

Robyn
Robyn
8 years ago

I also live in a very rural area. I have a 38 mile one way commute. I recently traded my 20 mpg SUV in for a 42 mpg Chevy Cruze. The breakeven point was paying $4 per gallon, but the SUV was also needing new A/C among other problems, so I took the plunge. We drive the car everywhere instead of my hubby’s truck. I’d love to commute with him, but there a few problems to work out, and he would still be driving us in his truck. My co-workers always ask when we’re moving closer, but I like it… Read more »

Robert Zaleski
Robert Zaleski
8 years ago

I had to give some feedback to this article. I did like the sheet one, but this one isn’t personal enough. Why are we using estimates here? What makes GRS stories great is often we’re talking about real-world scenarios with real numbers.

I’m just having a hard time following estimated savings when we need to think about real savings obtained.

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
8 years ago
Reply to  Robert Zaleski

The answer to this is easy and it’s why I don’t try and write these sorts of articles (for, whatever site might run them, I guess): It takes too much work to generate real numbers. I thought about doing this. I would spend a week where I drove the speed limit and record my MPG each way, then a week where I drove a typical amount over, anda typical amount under. I’d do the same with and without A/C, or with the tires properly inflated versus 5PSI low. I’d have a matrix that was 3(speeds) x 2(A/C configurations) x 2(tire… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago

ROFL. When my husband first got his hybrid, he totally did almost exactly what you’re describing. (Though the hybrid does collect some data for you, so you don’t have to calculate mileage the old fashioned way.) Not the tire configurations part, but he did play with doing the coasting into red lights and so on that they recommend to optimize mileage in its place.

David
David
8 years ago

I would get one of those 60 mpg scooters. And don’t assume they are rinky dinky they have some really nice ones http://www.suzukicycles.com/Product%20Lines/Scooters/Products/Burgman%20650/2012/AN650A.aspx#Specs

Yes you can wear a suit and ride. If it rains there are motorcycle rain suits that will keep you 100% dry or you can make other arrangements.

John
John
8 years ago

Working from home has really helped me cut down on transportation costs. I save gas money, car repair money, and avoid any accidents too (which can be costly, ha).

I also love the tip to batch errands together. I do that often and it really does save a lot.

Great article thanks!

Russ
Russ
8 years ago

Don’t forget that by driving less you’re reducing your risk of being in an accident and getting injured or dead. The expense of an injury cold easily run into the 10’s of thousands of dollars or more.

Diana
Diana
8 years ago

I like this one. It was clear and to the point, but at the same time the writer had done her homework.

Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager
Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager
8 years ago

I’m lucky to live in the city. I take advantage of my company’s discounted public transportation passes. Which not only saves me money get to and from work, but also saves me money on insurance since I list my car is a “leisure” car and not my primary mode of transportation.

Sheryl
Sheryl
8 years ago

In an urban area with a decent climate, motorcycles & scooters can be a good option as well, since they get amazing gas mileage and for a lot of models the insurance can be far lower than a car.

Colleen
Colleen
8 years ago

I have a 30 year old diesel Mercedes. I’m having it converted to run on peanut oil. I have a 45 minute commute to and from work each day which is an hour and a half of driving time. Peanut oil is 79 cents a gallon here as opposed to diesel which is $3.59 (still much cheaper than the northern states, but rising daily.) I’ll only have to run on the diesel for a few miles until the peanut oil is warmed up, hit a switch, and I’m running on peanut oil.

js
js
8 years ago

Do NOT downsize your car immediately… when you buy a new car, you have to take into account depreciation, insurance, and possibly maintenance costs… sometimes that is not worth the money saved for being fuel efficient!!! The best way to save money is to drive your car until it dies, that is the cost of repair exceeds the book value of your car.

amanda
amanda
8 years ago

Thanks for this article. I really enjoyed reading it. I’m glad you made some changes. Sounds like you got a few commentors thinking as well, bravo!

PawPrint
PawPrint
8 years ago

I don’t commute, but I found the article interesting enough to capture my attention. Thumbs up for this writer!

HP
HP
8 years ago

Public transportation – Luckily, I live in a major city, so I got rid of my car and have been taking the metro to work for 3+ years (another perk: work pays for my metro costs).

stellamarina
stellamarina
8 years ago

I am surprised nobody has mentioned hyper-miling. …..getting the most miles on your gallon of gas. Google it to find the hard-cores but at least keep your foot off the gas when going down hill and gliding into stops. Also, acselerate very slowly….I try to keep the RPM below the two on the dial.

Rob
Rob
8 years ago

For anyone who is interested, I used to have a small 35cc engine kit for a bicycle that gets 200mpg. Bought it a few years ago for around $600 from Golden Eagle Bicycle Engines (they still sell them but are in pretty high demand). It is really a blast to ride, no license or insurance required, street legal, and I routinely cruised at about 30mph everywhere I went, no sweat soaked shirts or anything because you dont even have to pedal if you dont want to. The engine was quality as well, made by Robin/Subaru. I sold it a few… Read more »

Steve
Steve
8 years ago

I am surprised nobody mentioned moving. If one lives close to one’s workplace, that opens up those walking and biking options.

Crystal
Crystal
8 years ago

I commute about 25 min. each way, but I’m ok with that. For those that say they live close to work… what if you change jobs? I’ve changed jobs at least every 5 years, but I definitely do not want to be moving that often just to stay close to my work! Thus, we live in a small community that is about 30 minutes away from a few different cities (and various job opportunities).

Mike Fischer
Mike Fischer
8 years ago

Cutting on transportation has the dual benefits of cost cutting as well as going greener. And yes, walking those short distances is a health benefit too.

Twitter: @unocardealers

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