Driving is a dirty habit. Not only does it really make a mess out of Mother Earth but it costs a fortune. Gas prices are only getting higher and I've already put an extra 18,000 miles on my car it just one short year.
To make it even worse, it is time consuming. I am going out on a limb here to say that southern California is the traffic capital of the world....well maybe not considering China. At any rate, even though I leave my house at 6 a.m. everyday I still end up sitting in traffic for an hour to get to work and an hour just to get home. If we break it down that is approximately 500 hours = 20 days = nearly 3 weeks that I spend every year in my car just trying to get to work.
Today was like any other day. I was basically parked on the I-5 on my way to work when I spotted a van speeding by in the carpool lane. On the side it read www.vanpool.com. "Muy interessante," I mused to myself. So being the good employee that I am, once I got to work I immediately checked it out.
Apparently, I can have someone else do all the driving while we cruise in the carpool lane laughing at all the suckers in the non-"HOV" lanes. For all of you out there that aren't down with the rideshare lingo that's HOV for High Occupancy Vehicle. Awww yeah.
The cost for the rideshare is approximatley $75-125/month. That's about how much I spend on gas right now but if you subtract all of the additional costs of oil changes, insurance, wear and tear on the vehicle it is not a bad deal. For example:
A commuter driving a 1997 Nissan Maxima 50 miles to and from work pays approximately $40.17 in maintenance, $15 in additional insurance, $63.91 for gas and $147.92 in car depreciation each month, making his/her total approximate monthly commute cost $267.00.
* Depreciation is typically the most dramatic commuting cost and most difficult to recognize. A car's value is based primarily on its age and mileage. Therefore, the older a car and the higher the mileage, the less it is worth.
* Fuel alone in your own car is usually more expensive than the total monthly cost of a vanpool or carpool, and the current standard pump rate for gas is over $1.50 per gallon (ok, thats old, I admit).
* The need for maintenance increases in accordance with wear and tear. By using your car to commute to and from work, you increase the frequency of scheduled maintenance (e.g. brakes, oil change, etc.) as well as the likelihood of increased unscheduled repairs.
*Almost all major auto insurance companies offer significant discounts (10% to 30%) to drivers who designate their cars as a "recreational vehicles only," which means to be used solely for purposes other than driving to work.
Vanpool here I come.