If each of you has a car, you may be spending more than you realize. In fact, driving a medium-sized sedan just 10,000 miles a year costs an average of $19.62 per day.1 But depending on your work schedules and other responsibilities, it may not always be feasible to cut back. Take time to determine if you each need your own car – and if not, what your alternatives might be.
1. Do you live in an area with a convenient mass transit system?
The average two-person household can save more than $9,000 a year by downsizing to one car and using public transit.2 Of course, you do give up some flexibility, but all that savings goes right into your pocket. Plus, you'll have more time to read, play games and connect with friends when you don’t need to keep your eyes on the road. If the mass transit options in your area are limited or don’t meet your needs, then you probably should stick to two cars. Fortunately, you’ll still benefit from savings: Many auto insurers provide multicar discounts.
2. Are ride-sharing services an option?
For one-quarter of Americans, the sharing economy can be a less costly alternative to driving yourself to work,3 especially if you have a flexible schedule or don't have far to go. Furthermore, ride-sharing can offer up to 40 percent savings compared to a single ride, according to Uber.4
3. What about car-sharing?
Giving you more control than ride-sharing with similar budget-friendly benefits, reserving a car from a company like Zipcar allows you to pay for a ride minute by minute while also placing you behind the wheel.
4. Can you walk, run or ride a bike?
If you live close enough to the office, you could combine your daily workout with your commute, staying fit and saving money in the process. Fortunately, many metropolitan areas are now making major commitments to dedicated bike lanes and walking paths. Aside from the financial benefits, commuting on foot or bike is good for your cardiovascular health.
5. Is carpooling a possibility?
You might have to sync up your morning routine, but if one of you can drop off and pick up the other at work, carpooling with your spouse is something to consider. Or, if aligning your household schedules isn’t feasible, you can look into carpooling with a friend or coworker. If you’re the driver, check your auto policy to make sure you have adequate protection for extra passengers.
Sharing a vehicle may not be the easiest choice when it comes to your personal daily routine, but the long-term gains for the environment are plentiful. A typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year,5 so one less gas-powered car on the road means fewer greenhouse gases in the air as well as reduced traffic congestion. And that's good for everyone.