Driving to and from work is an unavoidable burden for millions of Americans. It also can be an expensive one if you’re not careful. Idling in traffic wastes gas, and parking fees add up fast. DriverSide has a few suggestions for keeping commuting costs to a minimum.
If you’re driving 20 or more miles to work every day, fuel costs can easily take up the biggest chunk of your commuting budget. It’s also hard to plan for fluctuations in gas prices like we’ve been seeing recently. If gas shoots up an extra $1.50 a gallon, you can be seeing $700 a year vanish just like that. To keep fuel consumption low, employ basic hypermiling tricks to save gas like turning off your air conditioning, coasting down hills, and staying under 65 mph on the freeway. If these seem like a pain, just remember that two or three more mpgs can mean more money in your pocket.
Time Your Drives to Avoid Traffic
Try timing your drives to avoid heavy traffic hours. Obviously, this won’t work for the 9-5ers out there (we empathize, we swear), but those who can may want to arrange more unusual working hours with their bosses. Stop and go traffic, especially when the engine is cold, leads to more stress on your car’s working parts. More stress equals more maintenance – and we know how much that can cost.
While tolls are only applicable to some, those whom they affect can spend over $1200 a year on fees alone. Spend some time looking into frequent driver’s passes, like the FasTrak out in California’s Bay Area. Not only do they offer discounts, they make going through the traffic caught at the toll plaza a much less stressful event.
Keep Parking Costs Down
Most offices are situated in urban areas, which means parking is often an expensive problem. Your work may not cover parking costs for employees (check into it if you’re not sure), but there are always deals to be found. Look for coupons at lots near you, compare monthly passes or just ask around for the best deal. Chances are you’ll be able to shave a few dollars off your parking rates by just doing a little detective work.