The concept of carpooling has been around since World War II. However, formal car-pooling structures, including HOV lanes and public transportation, have been around for about forty years.  Whenever our country begins to recognize a shortage of resources, we begin taking active measures.  Here are a few tips to save fuel by carpooling:

#1 Find other carpoolers.  This may seem initially like the hardest part of your initiative.  However, there are many ways to find people just like you to pool with.  First, check with your company human resources department.  They may have a list of carpoolers on hand – people you can ride with.  Secondly, check online.  There are carpool connection sites you can register with to find the right group of people for you.

#2  Once you have a group of people interested in carpooling, it’s time to get organized. Here’s what you need to figure out:

How often everyone would like to carpool?  Sometimes there are days which carpooling doesn’t work for you and/or your other carpoolers.  Create a schedule.

  • Who wants to drive, and how often?
  • Where and when is everyone going to meet and get dropped off?
  • What is the start date?
  • Exchange cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses so you can communicate with them if there’s a change in your schedule. You’ll lose carpool friends fast if you leave them waiting for you.
  • Make sure drivers have valid licenses and auto insurance – important!

How much does everyone contribute to the carpooling program?  Gas and tolls cost money and it is everyone’s responsibility to contribute.  Additionally, if you’re consistently taking one person’s car then contribution to oil changes and upkeep isn’t out of the question.

#3  Establish policies.  Create a system of notification if someone is off schedule, has an emergency and so on.  Additionally, you may want to set ground rules for etiquette.  While you may think some things are obvious, others may not, so it’s best to be clear and upfront.  For example, what are appropriate speed limit rules?  What about smoking, eating/drinking, or texting and chatting on the phone while driving?

Additionally, what do you do if you want/need to kick someone out of the group?  Sometimes it just doesn’t work out.  As a group, it may be good to decide how to give someone who doesn’t follow the rules the heave ho.

Carpooling is an exceptional way to save on fuel.  Instead of five cars on the road driving to and from work, you have one car on the road and you also save one fifth of the expense.  In addition to saving money and natural resources, you may also find you make some lifelong friends, or at least have some interesting experiences!