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Gas Prices and My Commute

Today’s an exciting morning, it’s the start of a carpooling agreement we worked out with our neighbors. After living in the same neighborhood (apartment complex) for almost a year, we only just discovered that we have the same morning commute at approximately the same time.

They always left 10 minutes before we did, so it wasn’t until they were running late last week that we happened to bump into each other on the metro station. I’m quite willing to leave 10 minutes early if it means a) saving money and b) company on the metro ride. We even get off at the same stop.

We’ve worked out an arrangement so that they provide transportation Mondays and we do Wednesdays (a lot of my outside-the-home work is on weekends, which makes it harder to carpool). It’s not big, but it’s saving both of us one trip a week. It’s using less gas. Better for our cars, budgets, environment, and hopefully friendship too.

I’m hoping that this small change mean we spend about the same amount on gas this month as last, despite the price increases.

Some of you may be asking: Why don’t I take a bus to work, or at least to the metro?

Well, the DC metro bus system is a bit complicated. If I take the bus from my apartment to the metro, it costs the full $1.25 fare even if I then transfer to a train. No savings. Coming back, however, it counts as a transfer and I only pay $0.35 with my SmarTrip card. Taking the bus all the way to work would be cheaper but it’s a much longer commute with several bus changes.

Since the metro station is 2+ miles away, it’s farther than I feel like walking, especially in the heat. I’m also not quite comfortable the area.

We did some calculations to figure out the best price/method for the commute. At this point, the round trip for Micah to drop me off at the metro costs less than $1.25 in gas. On the other hand, the $0.35 is about the same/less, since we don’t get great gas mileage in that kind of city driving.

So I get dropped off on the way to work and I take the bus back from the metro, unless Micah has errands near the station or somesuch. In that case, we time them so that he picks me up. I’m not expecting this to make a huge impact in our budget, but it’s another step in the right direction for our money and our planet.

Have you explored your carpooling options? We never even talked with our friends about what time we left in the morning and where we went. It just didn’t come up. You don’t even have to work together, just within walking distance of each other.

Start with the people at your office. If you work in an office building there may be a way to advertise for a carpooling with people in the other companies.

Craigslist is another excellent choice (if you don’t live in a city on that page, click the “more” option). Each city’s Craislist should have a “rideshare” page.

Then there are sites like eRideShare.com, CarpoolConnect.com, MyCasualCarpool.com (they explain the difference), and SmartCommute.ca for you Canadians.


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

A.J. June 9, 2008 at 11:08 am

I wish I could, but I don’t have the kind of job where I get to leave at a set time at the end of the day. I hate my commute. This morning it was 40 minutes of stop-and-go on the Leesburg Pike (Rt 7).

deepali June 9, 2008 at 12:20 pm

I live 2 miles from work, so I’ve actually started walking. Only I would make that decision just as we hit 100 degree weather. 🙂 Actually, I started a week or so ago, and it was pleasant. This week I’m coming from bootcamp, so I’m all esweaty and gross anyway. Mostly safe walk, though I had a scary incident this morning.

I have the benefit of showers at work, and I keep clothes/toiltries here so it all works out really well. I am definitely going to make sure that my next job has all these benefits as well!

Nicole at Breaking Even, Inc. June 9, 2008 at 12:36 pm

Yet further proof that it’s good to know your neighbors! :^)

Pete June 9, 2008 at 1:12 pm

I carpool with a co-worker who lives in the same city as I do. It works out well, we meet at the local transit station, and then carpool from there. I estimate that I end up saving probably 60-100 dollars a month by doing this.

Amanda June 9, 2008 at 1:17 pm

Now that Sarah is working at LAM, too, she and Tim drive together, which does help with the budget. 🙂

mrsmicah June 9, 2008 at 4:28 pm

@ AJ, that’s where looking into flex pools can help. There’s one I know of in Arlington where people would just drive by and pick up carpoolers. But you’d need a backup plan if nobody wanted to carpool that day.

@Pete, 60-100 a month really makes it worthwhile. Wow.

Funny about Money June 9, 2008 at 7:52 pm

It may be time to open my mind to this possibility. Among the 60,000 people at The Great Desert University, fewer than half a dozen list themselves as wanting to carpool from my part of town. Hadn’t thought about checking other resources, tho’.

I come and go when I want, and sitting around GDU until the height of the rush hour–or waiting till rush hour is over, around 7:00 p.m., doesn’t appeal much. But…well, it’s prob’ly better than the two hours it takes the bus to make the 20-minute drive!

heartbeat June 9, 2008 at 8:51 pm

carpooling to and from work is out of the question at this time due to everyone elses’ work schedule…however in my rural neighborhood of one dead end county road…there are 15 households..so if anyone is having to go grocery shopping, or anything else we call each other up and carpool in that way….every little bit helps!

Beth June 9, 2008 at 11:13 pm

One of my husband co workers is moving into out neighborhood, and they are going to car pool. I am so happy about this, right now it cost $10 a day for my husband to drive to work. I imagine that next week it will be up to $11 a day boy does it add up.

Cath Lawson June 10, 2008 at 6:06 am

Hi Mrs M – I save a whole heap on fuel since I began working at home. But I have a bad habit of getting food for dinner daily, so I’m going to force myself to do a big daily shop, which will also save on fuel costs.

Kristen June 10, 2008 at 9:17 am

I wish carpooling or public transportation were an option for me. I have a 1-hour, 35 mile trip to work each way. Unfortunately there is no good, reliable public transportation from the suburbs where I live to the city where I work. No one who lives near me works remotely close to where I work, and moving closer to work is not an option because my fiance has a residency restriction on his job. Gas prices are killing my budget!

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