With gas prices hitting the record $5.8 per gallon, plenty of Americans are looking for unusual ways to save cash. It shouldn't come as a surprise - in a recent survey by the American Automobile Association (AAA), 59% of citizens declared to change their lifestyle habits if the prices crossed the magical threshold of $4 per gallon. 🚗⛽

According to the same pool, almost 40 million Americans would consider including carpooling in their daily travel plans. This number, however, is expected to grow - the surge of prices fueled by the inflation and war in Ukraine is not yet drawing to a close.

If you're one of the people who'd love to save both their money and environment, you've come to the right place - keep on reading and find out all the helpful tips for improving your daily commute and faraway journeys.

What is carpooling?

Carpooling, or car-share, is an easy way to lower your commute expenses by sharing empty places in your car for a given amount of cash. This simple trick allows you to save even 80% of your fuel price. 🛢️

The idea of carpooling was born in the USA during the II World War - it was created to encourage citizens to conserve oil, which was much needed by both the army and factories.

When you ride alone, you ride with Hitler - Weimer Pursell, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
The Anti-Nazi poster from II World War encouraging Americans to save oil.

In the era of the internet, carpooling is easier than ever, and its possibilities are endless. Start with the option that suits you best:

  • Share a ride with your coworker who lives nearby;
  • Gather the neighborhood kids and drive them together for their football practice;
  • Advertise on the internet (social networks, carpooling sites) and travel longer distances with total strangers.

What are to pros of carpooling?

When it comes to carpooling, it's not just about the hard cash and fuel prices. 💰
Let's enumerate all the additional benefits of this mode of transport:

  • Sharing tolls for highways, entrances, parking lots;
  • Shorter time of commute, due to lower traffic and so-called high-occupancy vehicle lanes;
  • Reduction of social exclusion - possibility to travel for people without a car, or elder residents; 👵
  • An occasion to meet interesting people and spend your journey time in an interesting way;
  • Lower CO2 emission, and lower levels of city noise;
  • Reducing air pollution; 🌱 and
  • Lessening the need for parking lots, contributing to better city planning & bigger green areas.

How to lower your driving costs?

Carpooling is an efficient way to divide the cost of your travel between all the passengers in your car - however, there are additional things to consider if you'd like to save as much as you can. 💸

  • Decrease the number of stops on your way - if you can visit two places at one go or walk somewhere - do it.
  • Use maps to plan your journey.
  • 50 mph (80.5 km/h) is typically the most fuel-efficient speed you may choose - that velocity allows you to get the most out of your money.
  • Avoid traffic jams - if you need to stop somewhere for more than a minute, turn off your engine.
  • If possible in your area, use the app for paying toll on a highway.

And last but not least,

How to calculate the carpooling cost?

Just a few equation stand between you and greener & cheaper journeys!

  1. Calculate the fuel used.
    You'll need both the distance of your travel and your car's typical fuel consumption - you may find it in your car's instruction, online, or just rely on your experience.

Use the equation: Fuel used[gal] = Distance [mi] / Fuel usage [mpg]

  1. Calculate the cost of fuel.
    Find out your local, current gas prices.

Here's the equation you'll need: Fuel cost = Fuel used [gal] * Fuel price

  1. Share the costs.
    How many people will be travelling with you?

The final formula looks as follows: Cost per person = Fuel cost / No. of people

  1. That's that! It wasn't that difficult, was it? 🚘

How to use the carpooling calculator?

Calculate your carpooling costs in a few simple steps! 🚗

  1. Choose the type of a trip.
    • City
    • Highway
    • Mixed
    • Custom (requires you to know the fuel economy additionally - in e.g., US mpg)
  2. Choose your car type.
    ... or choose the other vehicle option and add your own fuel usage in US mpg or L/100 km.
  3. Enter the distance of your trip.
    Imperial or metric units? We have them all!
  4. Input the amount of fuel used.
  5. Enter your fuel price.
  6. .. and there you go! Here's the total cost of your trip! 🎉

If you'd like to take it one step further...

  1. Enter the number of people you'd like to share the cost with.
    This way you'll receive the detailed cost per person. 👥

ps. Our calculator can also show you the environmental gain connected to your trip - all you need to do is choose your fuel type!

What's the difference between autostop and carpooling?

Autostop is a spontaneous and free method of transport - its cons include low safety and unpredictability. Carpooling, on the other hand, is usually pre-planned and requires a certain payment - this solution allows you to rely on guaranteed, safer journeys with known drivers.

Arturo Barrantes and Łucja Zaborowska, MD, PhD candidate
For trip cost calculation, please add your trip type, car model🚗, distance to be covered, and fuel price💸
Trip type
City
Car
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Fuel consumption of 18 miles per (US-) Gallon.
If you can't find your car or the fuel consumption is different, select "Other vehicle" option instead.
Distance
mi
Fuel used
US gal
Fuel price
$/
US gal
Cost of the trip
$
The specifications, age and condition of your engine can affect its fuel economy, so... your milleage may vary.
👩‍👧‍👦 Carpooling division of payment
Number of people
Cost per person
$
🚗 💨 Carpooling footprint
Fuel type
Gasoline
Net CO₂
kg
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