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Your Guide to Carpooling

Finance | 07/10/2023 00:20

Many people are trying to find ways to save money, and when you can save money while doing something good for the environment, it is a win-win situation. Carpooling can help you and your neighbors save money while cutting down on emissions, so it’s a great idea for many people. But how can you start incorporating carpooling into your life?


Here’s everything you need to know about organizing a carpool.

What is carpooling?

Carpooling is when a group of people decide to ride together and share in the costs and responsibilities of driving. Maybe one person is the designated driver and the others give them money in return, or maybe everyone alternates driving. But the end result is the same: one car for many people which results in less cars on the road, less gas consumed, and less money spent on transportation.

Carpooling is nothing new. It first became popular during World War II as a rationing tactic. Workers were encouraged to ride together to conserve rubber during wartime. Carpooling came back during the 1970s when the 1973 oil crisis and 1979 oil crisis led to more efforts for conservation. Participation dropped off significantly during the 1980s,1990s, and early 2000s when conservation was far from many people’s minds. Gas glugging SUVs and minivans became more popular, gas prices fell, and the idea of sharing rides was forgotten. 

But in the past decade or so carpooling has become more and more popular. The effects of emissions are well known and many of us feel pressure to reduce our footprint. Smartphones have also connected us and made it much easier to find carpools and coordinate the logistics.

Who carpools?


While carpooling can benefit anyone, studies show that there are certain groups of people who carpool more than others. Those who live in high density residential areas and work in areas with lots of jobs nearby are more likely to carpool. Younger people who are unmarried and like being in social situations are much more likely to carpool than those who are older, married, and own homes.

What are the benefits of carpooling?


There are a number of benefits to carpooling that make it a desirable situation for many.

#1. It saves you money.

One of the major benefits of carpooling is that it can save you money. There are tons of costs associated with car ownership and maintenance, and carpooling allows you to split those costs. When you carpool you can split

  • Gas 

  • Tolls

  • Parking fees


Additionally you can ask for or contribute extra money for wear and tear that can be applied to maintenance, car payments, and insurance.


#2. It gives you a chance to socialize.

If you enjoy socializing with others, carpooling gives you a chance to meet new people and get acquainted with your neighbors all while commuting to work.


#3. It gives you time to catch up on work.

If you are not the designated driver, carpooling offers idle time where you can catch up on work, plan your week, read, or do whatever else you may want to do. 


#4. It can give your car a break.

If you are used to taking your car out a lot and piling on the miles, carpooling gives your car a chance to rest. You can cut down on wear and tear, mileage, and maintenance costs, making your car last for years to come.


#5. It’s good for the environment.

Carpooling has been proven to significantly reduce emissions, which has an enormous positive impact on the environment. The International Panel on Climate Change estimates that transportation accounts for 23% of global energy consumption. This means that it is up to everyone to change their behaviors if we hope to reduce emissions. For those in urban areas, switching to public transportation can be a great solution. But for those in suburban or rural areas, this may not be practical. Carpooling offers a way for people in the suburbs or rural communities to reduce their emissions as well. It’s been found that carpooling can reduce the carbon footprint of an average household by up to 2,000 pounds of CO2e annually. 


#6. It may get you there faster.

If you live in a heavily trafficked area you have undoubtedly seen the carpool lanes. Carpool lanes are intended to incentivize people to rideshare, as they have much less traffic and can get you to your destination faster.

What are the disadvantages of carpooling?

Carpooling has many benefits for our wallets, our social lives, and the environment. But it may not be an easy switch for many as there are some significant disadvantages.


#1. There’s less flexibility.

When you are driving with a group of people you will not have the flexibility to come or go as you may please. You will have to stick to a schedule and you will be unable to stop for errands as you may normally. Additionally, if someone in the group is running late, you will all be running late as a result.


#2. It may be uncomfortable.

If you are a shy person carpooling may prove to create an awkward situation. You will need to socialize to some extent, and this may be too intimidating for some introverted people.


#3. The driver is responsible for everything.

When you carpool the driver is responsible for the safety and timeliness of everyone in the group. This means that they are liable for everything as well, including any accidents that may occur. 


#4. It may not feel secure.

Riding in a car with total strangers may feel uncomfortable, and that feeling may even border on feeling unsafe. After all, who are these people? While there is a relatively low risk of crime, statistically speaking, it’s a good idea to try to organize a carpool through your work so that you are riding with people who are already vetted to some extent.


How can I start carpooling?


If you feel like carpooling may be a good option for you, starting a carpool is pretty easy.


Step 1. Find a carpool.

Granted, this is probably the hardest party of the whole process. Your company may already have an established carpooling program that can help you connect with people who may be interested. If your company doesn’t have a carpool program, consider reaching out to HR to determine if you can get one stated.


Step 2. Determine who will be the organizer. 

Whether it’s you or someone else, someone will need to take charge and organize a schedule, routes, and how the carpool will work. Here are some questions to consider:

  • Will everyone alternate driving? 

  • Will some drive while others pay extra? 

  • Are there special scheduling considerations? (i.e. some days the carpool won't be needed)

  • What is the best route for everyone? 

  • Will the route be consistent or will it change so that everyone has a chance to have the shortest commute?

  • How will emergencies be handled, and who will serve as backup drivers in those situations?

  • How much money will everyone contribute? How often will contributions be made?


Step 3. Layout guidelines for each vehicle.

Everyone has different rules when it comes to their cars. Make sure there is a written understanding regarding all of these rules. Some people may not want food or drinks in their cars, while others may allow it. Some drivers may not allow music as they may view it as a distraction. Whatever the rules are, be sure everyone is aware of them. You may find it easier to agree to blanket rules, such as no music or food. This will keep everything simple and straightforward. If people are not respectful of the guidelines, agree on what the best course of action will be.


You should also discuss driving guidelines. Make rigid rules so that everyone stays safe. Make it clear that speeding, illegal maneuvers, and reckless driving will not be tolerated.


Step 4. Get an app to organize.

It may be useful to get a carpooling app such as Caroster. This can help you communicate clearly and effectively. These apps are great even if you are just looking to organize a one-off carpool for an event.


Step 5. Check in regularly.

Make a point to discuss how everything is going at least once a month. Is the schedule working for everyone? Does everyone feel like their contributions are equal and fair? Are there rules that are not being followed? Open and honest communication will help keep your carpool going strong for months and years to come.

That’s everything you need to know about carpooling.


Carpooling can be a great way to socialize, cut your emissions, and save money all in one swoop. Refinancing your car loan is another great way you could be saving money. By refinancing to a lower interest rate you could be saving hundreds, if not thousands, every year. And who couldn’t benefit from that? 


If you are overpaying on your car loan every month, contact Auto Approve today! You can get a free quote in minutes, so what do you have to lose?


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