Carpooling Is Cool

The financial benefits of carpooling, featured in a front page story of the Oregonian today, are only one reason that carpooling is cool. I’d say its coolness is embodied in four C’s: cash, congestion reduction, carbon footprint and community.

The carpool I’m in makes my commute between Portland and Salem a joy instead of a grind. But the cash part first. The Oregonian’s simple chart states that driving alone would cost each of the six of us $12,344/year (including depreciation, etc., besides gas). Parking fees would be $756/year individually, but are just $104 as part of the group. So, by carpooling rather than driving alone, my carpool partners and I each save more than $10,500 per year.

We’re also each reducing our carbon footprint significantly by carpooling, and also our role in traffic congestion. With all that virtue, you would think we are martyrs, sighing pitifully as we make painful sacrifices. But no, the opposite is true. We joke around, take naps, share news and books, debrief from work, read, grab each others’ last-minute concert tickets, team up for Pub Quiz nights. I played a great prank on them for April Fools Day that I think they’ve forgiven me for. Carpooling can be community.

Especially if public transit isn’t available to you, you should give yourself the gift of carpooling, too. Living here in Oregon, I found mine through Carpool Match Northwest. Keep in mind that joining a carpool doesn’t mean you have to carpool every day; it can be flexible.

Coming up soon: report and pictures of the EcoProm: Oregon League of Conservation Voters Annual Dinner for the Environment that just happened last Friday night.


2 Responses to “Carpooling Is Cool”

  1. 1 Crafty Green Poet April 29, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Carpooling is great! We have even been tempted to join the local car club. Public transport in and around our town is really good and normally that’s what we use when we’re not walking but some places are tricky to get to and we rent a car. We recently found out that it would be worth joining the car club because you can take the cars anywhere, not just within the city boundaries.

    I like your comments here about community too, I think that’s a benefit of many developments in sustainable living.

  2. 2 The Green Room May 7, 2008 at 8:17 am

    Oh!! I completely agree with you! Carpooling is hardly a sacrafice. I gain so much more from carpooling. Yes, financially it’s a win-win situation, but on mornings when I think I could just stay in bed all day, I remember that my carpool partners waiting and are a joy to be with. Even if I’m not feeling so great when I first get into the car, it’s not long before I’m out of my own head and enjoying someone’s account of their weekend, a movie they saw or simply sharing how we’re all just ready for a really great vacation. Yes, a carpool buddy is also a fantasy buddy.

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