Wednesday, February 21, 2024

How Your Daily Commute Can Save You Money, Boost Your Mood, and Protect the Planet

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Learn how to save money and reduce your environmental impact with these cost-saving and sustainable daily commute options that shouldn’t take you more than one hour.

Gas prices remain high. But it may be a blessing in disguise. Whether you take the bus, train, or drive to work, there are ways your daily commute can save money, improve your health, and connect with your community. And when both your wallet and your planet benefit, what have you got to lose?

How to make your driving more sustainable

Sustainable driving is a win-win situation. It’s better for the environment because it results in less pollution and it’s better for you because it helps the money you spend on fuel go further. 

Here are a few ways you can become a more sustainability-conscious driver.

No sudden speed changes

Driving as smoothly as possible is one way to play your part in reducing your impact. The car has to do more work to maintain momentum when you brake harshly or speed up suddenly. This drains your fuel faster and is worse for the environment.

Did you know that sudden braking releases harmful microplastics from your tires into the surrounding atmosphere? These tiny pollutants can make their way into waterways and local oceans and can also be inhaled. Anticipating the road ahead is something drivers of all vehicle types can do to promote sustainability.

Sudden acceleration is also a problem for similar reasons. In addition to the tire issues, there’s also the increased air pollution that results from burning more fuel. 

Checking your tire pressures

Your tire pressure naturally decreases the more you drive. The lower they get, the more fuel a car needs to burn. 

This is why there’s a recommendation that you check your tire pressures every month. It’s a very straightforward check, which you can do at most petrol stations. Find the correct tire pressure in your car manual, inside your fuel tank flap, or inside the sill of the driver’s door. This will help you reduce your fuel usage and produce less pollution. In fact, it’s necessary to prevent you from having an eventual tire blow-out, which can be very dangerous.  

Regular servicing and MOTs

Keeping up to date with your car’s maintenance is essential for many reasons. A full service should involve an oil filter check. This car part traps dirt and other extraneous particle so it doesn’t contaminate the oil. It needs this regular cleaning to ensure your car continues to use clean, unfiltered oil which won’t damage the car or the atmosphere.  

In addition to a regular service, which should be done every year or every two years if your annual mileage is below 12,000 miles, there’s also the annual MOT. 

Similarly, your annual MOT helps your car continue operating optimally. Tyre performance, wheel alignment and other factors that can impact fuel efficiency will be checked. Fuel-powered cars will also be given an emissions test. 

Managing your car’s weight

In the interests of lowering emissions, you may also want to assess the weight of your car. Try not to carry extra cargo unless you need to!

And if you’re going on holiday or moving house, there are still ways you can monitor the weight distribution to minimize your impact. For example, don’t put more weight on one side of the car than the other, because this can impact handling. 

However, it does help to put slightly more weight in the rear of the car. This is better for braking and cornering because when you brake, the weight moves toward the front and comes closer to a 50/50 weight distribution.

Sustainable ways to commute

Looking to make your commute even more sustainable? These other ways to commute leave the car in the garage and may make your commute a more meaningful experience, too.

Image courtesy NeonBrand on Unsplash

1. Carpooling With Colleagues Or Friends

If you drive to work, carpooling is a great way to save money on gas and parking. See if any of your colleagues or friends live near you and would be interested in sharing the ride. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also get to know your co-workers or friends better. It’s a valuable resocializing skill post-pandemic, too.

Carpooling isn’t just for people who drive to work, though. If you take the bus or train, see if any of your friends or co-workers want to join you for the ride. You can chat and catch up on each other’s lives while saving money on transportation costs.

You can even carpool with people who don’t work with you but work near your office or business. Check with local businesses, friends, or even posting on apps like Next Door can help you find parties interested in ride-sharing.

Image courtesy Tbel Abuseridze on Unsplash

2. Public transportation

If you work for a company that offers transportation benefits, be sure to take advantage of them. Many companies offer their employees discounts on public transportation costs. Ask your human resources department if your company offers any such benefits.

You may also be able to get discounts on your commute if you’re a student or senior citizen. Again, it never hurts to ask.

Even if you don’t qualify for any discounts, there are still ways to save money on your commute. For example, many public transit systems offer passes that allow you to ride for a certain number of days or weeks at a discounted rate. If you know you’ll be using public transit frequently; it may be worth it to invest in one of these passes.

Image courtesy Razor

3. Electric Bicycles Or Scooters

If you live near your workplace, consider ditching the bus or train and riding an electric bicycle or scooter instead. Motorcycles work, too. These modes of transportation are becoming increasingly popular—and for a good reason. They’re environmentally friendly, fun to ride, and can help you get some exercise. Best of all, they’re often much cheaper than public transit or driving.

Of course, electric bicycles and scooters aren’t right for everyone. If you have a long commute or live in an area with bad weather, they may not be practical. But if you have a short commute and the weather cooperates, you should consider looking at electric bikes, too.

Image courtesy Kevin Ku on Unsplash

4. Biking

Electric scooters and bicycles are great for commuting quickly, but a good old-fashioned human-powered bicycle keeps you fit and reduces your gas use, too.

More than half of commuters live within ten miles of their workplace. Depending on terrain and temperature, a ten-mile bike ride can take about 45 minutes, which can be less than it takes to sit in rush hour traffic for the same distance.

And if the commute both ways are too daunting, some buses offer racks for bikes. Or, you can leave it at the office and ride it home the next day.

Image courtesy Mad Rabbit Tattoo on Unsplash

5. Walking

Did you know walking daily is linked to better health and a longer lifespan? It is also a great way to save money, too. Of course, it’s not always practical. If you live far from your workplace, walking probably isn’t realistic. But if you live close by, consider giving it a try.

A two-mile walk will take about 45 minutes to an hour. It’s also a great way to wake yourself up before the workday or shake it all off before you get home. Even if you can’t walk the whole way, walking part of the way can still save you money and help you get some exercise. This can be especially beneficial if you currently pay to park. Why not look for free parking 15-20 minutes away?

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