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Be a Good Carpool Passenger

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Kiss & RideAs gasoline prices continue their upward trend, more and more people are carpooling. That’s a good thing.

The bad thing is that fewer people are fairly breaking up the costs!

Personally, I’ve always felt that as a passenger in the car, I owe more than my “fair” share for gasoline. I inherently understood there were other costs involved in driving, outside of gasoline, but the main reason was because I wasn’t driving. It’s really convenient to be a passenger and so I feel like I owe more than my fair share. On some occasions, when someone else beats me to the punch in pulling out a credit card for gasoline, I’ll give them the money instead (the driver doesn’t know, which I suppose is a negative, but in the end I feel happy having paid at least my fair share). In those cases I try to split whatever they’re paying with them (if they pay more, I have zero problem paying my share of “more”).

What if you want a really fair look at costs? Well, you can go as far as to calculate the total cost of a drive, including insurance, tires, license, registration, and the works.

Back when I was driving a Acura Integra and gas was slightly cheaper, I calculated my “cost per mile” at around 7 cents. It included gasoline, insurance, tires, and a catch-all “everything” category that included windshield wipers and other routine maintenance types of things. (as an aside, knowing this information can help you make more informed decisions – like whether to drive across town to save a few cents on gas)

I personally think it all works out at the end, but if you’re a passenger, you should take the effort to make sure you aren’t taking advantage.

How do you make sure you’re a good carpool passenger?

(Photo: gennie_stafford)

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8 Responses to “Be a Good Carpool Passenger”

  1. Emilio P says:

    Driving around town shopping for gas is a really bad practice: Not only the savings are often nullified by the additional costs of driving; but it creates more demand that in turn increases the cost of it; because we’re unnecessarily burning more gas just to get more.
    Not only that, but the utter waste of our time needs to be calculated in the cost; and obviously it’s not an environmentally sound practice to ‘shop around’ for gas.
    Rather; try knowing beforehand where to go within the vicinity. There are countless smartphone apps that can inform where the least expensive gas is around a given area.

    • Strebkr says:

      As an example, I use GasBuddy on my phone. If I need gas, I will check to see where it is cheap. Do I get gas around my home, or do I get it near my work. Neither is out of my way because I am already driving that way. I could also take a few different routes to get there. Nothing really out of my way because if there was traffic I might go a different route. All in, I have probably 50 – 60 gas stations that are “not out of my way” And between those stations there is always a big price difference. Right now lowest is 3.82 and the highest is 4.16. Thats more then enough to make me drive to get gas.

      Check out GasBuddy on your phone.

  2. mannymacho says:

    Wow, 7 cents a mile. It probably wasn’t that long ago, but the numebr seems so ridiculously low now…

  3. billsnider says:

    I belong to a club of about 250 members. We are always taking trips. The way they handle car pooling works well. They assign a fair share cost to each destination based on mileage and the number of passengers. So if you want or need a ride, you pay what the club approves. If you don’t like the amount, you can walk.

    Also the club has been proactive in increasing the amount as gasoline prices increase.

    Bill Snider

  4. Bryan says:

    At my last job, myself and 1 other worker shared the same schedule and he was right on my way in. The way we worked our carpool to keep costs fair was simply alternating who drives their own car. I’d drive in my car Mon, Weds, Fri this week, he’d drive Tues, Thurs, and we’d swap the following week.

    Since I was further out and he was en route, I’d stop to pick him up when I was driving, or stop and leave my car at his place when he was driving.

    At my current employer, there is a 3rd party service that runs the van pool. You pay a certain amount per month and that gets you in the van. They certify 2 people in the van to drive it, then everyone just meets at the park and ride in the am where the van gets parked over night. The 2 drivers both have keys in case someone is sick etc. and off you go.

  5. Parker says:

    Does you cost per mile include depreciation of your car based on the increased miles on it?
    Basically when you sell you car, the price will be decreased based on the extra miles on the car.

    You number seems quite low. AAA estimates that cost per mile to be at least 50 cents / mile (with a $2.88 / gallon gas price).
    See:
    http://www.aaaexchange.com/Assets/Files/201145734460.DrivingCosts2011.pdf


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