According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 10 million Americans spend an hour each way commuting to work. And, 80 percent drive to work alone. With the average price for gas rounding out at roughly $3.56 per gallon, more commuters than ever are exploring other options. So in the spirit of National Bike to Work Day, here are 10 suggestions to save money on your commute.
Only 11 percent of Utah commuters carpool, even though the benefits are immense. Carpooling not only saves money on gas, but it also allows you to read, relax or even get some work done (unless you are the driver). There are various websites, such as utarideshare.com, to help connect commuters who want to carpool. You can lessen traffic congestion and forge stronger relationships with your co-workers on the way.
Some Utah companies offer discount packages for their employees' commuting costs. One of the more prominent packages in Utah is the UTA Eco Pass, a company-sponsored annual transit pass that employees can use to ride TRAX or the bus system. Company-sponsored discount programs like this often go unadvertised, so be sure to check with your employer to see if discount options are available.
Even though riding your bike to work doubles as exercise, only 1.6 percent of Utahns bike to work. Utah is one of 25 states that offer Bicycle Benefits, a program that rewards individuals and businesses for biking in place of driving.
The Utah Transit Authority operates more than 600 buses, 400 vanpools, 146 light rail vehicles, 63 commuter rail cars and 18 locomotives. All in a 1,600 square mile service area that covers six counties. Suffice it to say, there are plenty of opportunities to use public transportation.
Walking to work can often be inconvenient; you not only have to leave for work earlier, but you have to be extra careful when walking in the city. Despite the difficulties, more than 80,000 Utahns in 2010 decided it was worth the savings.
Despite possible professional drawbacks, telecommuting has been on the rise in Utah for some time. Depending on your work style, telecommuting can also help improve your productivity and allow for a more flexible work schedule.
For the Utah commuters who choose to drive, finding cheaper places to park may be the most effective way to save money. Some garages offer weekly or monthly passes that provide discounts. Like the Eco pass, some employers offer parking passes as an employer-sponsored program.
One of the easier ways to cut down on unnecessary travel costs is to rearrange your work schedule. By going to work earlier and leaving earlier, you beat the traffic, which helps you save on gas and get a better (and hopefully less expensive) parking space.
There are dozens of smart phone apps designed to make commuting easier. From apps like Waze and Inrix that help you to avoid traffic, to apps like GasBuddy that help you locate the cheapest gas in your area, apps can provide a wide range of useful service to the savvy commuter.
By doing simple things such as making sure the oil is changed regularly and maintaining proper tire pressure, your car will run smoother and get better gas mileage.