Have you ever said, ‘I wish I had a nickel for every time I…?’ Well, imagine if you had 57 cents instead. AAA says that’s the cost of driving a vehicle per mile in America today.
What would your life be like if you had that 57 cents back in your pocket for every mile you drove to work, school or church?
With more people living in congested urban and suburban areas that are walkable and bikeable, it’s now possible to reduce the amount of vehicles in your life and save big money. Some people are going carless and using public transportation. Others are going from three cars to two, or two cars to one.
Because it’s entirely possible to spend 20% of your income on a car, reducing the number of vehicles in your life is a huge money-saving move!
June 16 is National Dump the Pump Day, which encourages people to ride public transportation (instead of driving) and save money. Here’s how you can get started…
Don’t overlook pedal power
There are all sorts of people out there with three cars that could go to two cars, or two that could go to one. If you’re like the average American and you can find a way to replace even a part of your trips by biking and walking, you’ve just increased your income by what’s likely to be a meaningful amount.
Visit the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals at APBP.org for tips on bike safety and how to get started integrating pedal power into your lifestyle.
Try a scooter or motorcycle
Scooters are like a ‘step down’ program from car ownership. They’re fuel efficient and cheap to buy. A slew of Chinese imports on the market price out below $1,000 for a 50cc model with a top speed of 45 miles per hour.
Check Craigslist for gently used scooters at half that price. If motorcycles are more your style, be sure to pay for a safety course through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation at MSF-USA.org before riding. The knowledge you gain could save your life on the road.
Take the bus — particularly for cheap interstate travel
For the first time in 45 years, the bus is becoming a real option for more people. Bus lines including MegaBus.com and BoltBus.com offer travel between metro areas with a limited number of fares starting at $1.
Services like these were originally designed to attract the young and broke, but they’re now branching out and crossing economic and age lines. Women traveling alone are a particularly booming client base for some of these players. Free wifi and luxury seats are among the amenities most of these bus lines offer.
Try sharing a vehicle
Shared car services, where you rent a car by the hour, are gaining in popularity, particularly on college campuses. ZipCar.com is probably the leader in the industry, though Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Hertz are trying to elbow their way into the market too.
Once you sign up with ZipCar for $50, you receive a ZipCard that allows you to access the vehicles that are parked at easy-to-reach locations. You typically pay an hourly charge of anywhere from $6 to $12 to rent a car, and that price includes comprehensive insurance, gas and roadside assistance/maintenance.
When you’re done with the vehicle, just return it to the same location where you picked it up. It’s kind of like a ‘public transit, private driving’ model, and it’s much cheaper than adding another car to the family fleet!
Go the ridesharing route
Uber, Lyft and a handful of smaller ridesharing competitors are all the rage these days. In case you’re not familiar with the idea of ridesharing, it’s where anyone can make themselves available on demand via an app as a car for hire to give you a ride.
Read more: 10 cars you’ll most regret buying