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High gas prices have more drivers carpooling to work

With gas prices on the rise, some have turned to carpooling as a way to save money.

Gas prices have risen 14.2 percent per gallon based on last January's gas price in upstate New York, according to data from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

However, Courtney Miller of Plattsburgh has found carpooling saves her about $80 per month on gas, since she began driving to and from her job as a teacher at Northeastern Clinton Central School in Champlain with a co-worker even just two weeks out of the month. Each takes turns driving the 50-mile round-trip route every other week.

It's something that not only helps your wallet, but in reducing wear and tear on your vehicle and pollution of the environment, said Miller.

"If you can do it, you should," she said.

Though Miller carpools with a friend, anyone can find carpoolers in their area by putting the word out at work by sending an e-mail or posting a notice, according to the Mid-American Regional Council Rideshare Guide. Simply asking friends and family if they wouldn't mind sharing a vehicle on the way to work could be an option, as well.

Kristina Parker-Wingler, manager of the Battlefield of Plattsburgh Association, carpools with her mother twice a week to work.

"I don't have any other staff, and I live in West Chazy," said Parker-Wingler. "My mother goes to Plattsburgh to run errands, so I ride with her."

Parker-Wingler lives 13 miles from her job. Riding with her mother has saved her approximately $20 per week in gas. She also values the benefits carpooling has on the environment and the economy, she added.

"Every penny we save in this economy is worth it," she said.

However, carpooling is not for everyone.

One way to find out if ridesharing will work for you is to try it, according to the MARC guide, found on-line at www.marc.org. The site offers carpooling tips for people interested in carpooling and recommends those new to carpooling work out a convenient schedule, take turns driving and/or contribute to gas costs.

Don't know how much to pay your driver? The site offers a calculator, which averages the operating costs per mile, so carpoolers know how much money to contribute to the driver each week.

Drivers don't have to manage the high gas prices alone, said Parker-Wingler. It's just a matter of whether or not you are willing and able to share your vehicle with others.

"For every car you see on the road with one person, why not have two," she said.

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