Is Carpooling the Future? Why It's Good to Hitch a Ride

When two or more people share a ride to a common destination, that's carpooling. In 2021, 7.5% of people carpooled to work. That's great for the environment, city traffic, and drivers' wallets — and the trend might be here to stay. If you're thinking about hitching a ride with friends, here's why that's a fantastic idea.

Why People Choose to Hitch a Ride

Most people who carpool do it to save money. In 2022, 29% of young drivers said they'd consider carpooling to cut down on fuel expenses. And for good reason! Carpooling saves drivers at least $450 per year on gas, on average. Additionally, it also saves on the wear-and-tear of the vehicle, which has its own costs that can quickly add up.

Another motivator is sheer convenience. If you carpool, you don't have to worry about having to find parking or the stress of driving in big cities.

3 Benefits of Carpooling

But those aren't the only reasons to carpool. There are other perks you can reap while hitching a ride.

1. Breezing Through Traffic

High-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes are separate lanes built specifically for cars and vans transporting two or more passengers. They're great because they're not as congested, meaning they'll get you to your destination more quickly. You'll find them in 35 states, usually in major cities.

If you carpool, you'll have access to these lanes. Hate driving in traffic? Great! This is your way out.

2. Reducing Emissions

Sharing a ride with even just one person can save you 2,000 pounds of carbon emissions per year. That's a ton, literally! When you carpool, you do your part in making our cities less polluted and the air healthier to breathe.

3. Easing Road Congestion

Carpooling and bikes are two effective ways of reducing car use. The more people do it, the less congested our city roads will be. It'll save us all commuting time.

More Ways to Be Green Behind the Wheel

Besides carpooling, there's more you can do to save the planet.

Combine Errands

Starting a cold engine wastes more fuel and pollutes more than starting a warmed-up engine. Instead of taking three trips to run three errands, combine them all into one. You'll save money and on emissions.

Conserve Fuel as You Drive

Tire pressure affects fuel economy, so keep them inflated to the manufacturer's recommendations. Running the air conditioning system also burns more fuel. Additionally, obeying speed limits, braking and accelerating gradually, and reading the road in front of you can also help you save on gas — even if you're driving an older, not-very-efficient vehicle.

At the end of the day, adopting fuel-saving tactics can increase your vehicle's fuel efficiency by 15-30% on highways and 10-40% in cities. Using less fuel means fewer carbon emissions and less money spent at the pump.

Carpool but Keep Your Independence

Carpooling is great! But if you live in a city with poor public transit connections, it's not a good idea to only rely on your friends and family for rides. Having a driver's license is still useful! You'll be independent enough to get around town on your own if your ride falls through and can repay the favor and be the designated carpool driver every once in a while.

Take the first step by enrolling in a driver's ed course. You can take classes online, learn at your own pace, and get ready to take the written test and jump behind the wheel.

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Updated 6/20/23