These are the Advantages of Limiting Car Usage
As gas prices rise across the country and inflation burns a hole in the pockets of consumers, many are eliminating unnecessary purchases and travel. While daily commutes could be unavoidable, limiting car use could offer many perks and benefits to consumers.
Most people figure out how to shop more mindfully at the grocery store; making lists, cutting coupons, and joining rewards programs can help to save cash at the register. However, the car could be making a huge impact on finances beyond fuel consumption. These are the advantages of limiting car usage:
- Decreased fuel costs
- Lower possible insurance costs
- Less wear and tear on the vehicle
- A decreased carbon footprint
- More physical exercise
The Number One Advantage is Lower Fuel Costs
Consumers will understand the most obvious impact of limiting car use relates to a decrease in fuel dependency and its inherent cost at the pump. Driving more means that the car will need fuel more frequently. More fuel means more money spent at the pump. With the average price of gas now around $4.80, every mile matters.
As prices at the gas stations continue to rise, consumers might begin to change their driving habits. Again, this isn’t always possible for those who have daily commutes. These drivers might simply face higher fuel costs each month for the same commute.
Yet, even commuters could decrease their driving during evening hours or on the weekend. Perhaps families opt for a staycation instead of enjoying a road trip.
While consumers once might have taken leisurely drives or perhaps didn’t think twice about heading across town to make a purchase, now every decision could be more mindful and based on fuel costs.
Suddenly, saving a few dollars on an item at a store 20 miles away just doesn’t make sense. Instead, that item might cost more because of the gas wasted during the drive.
To save money on fuel, consumers can use apps to find the cheapest gas in their area. In addition, some also might decide to pay for a membership at stores like Costco and Sam’s Club; these stores offer discounted gas to members. The savings on fuel actually pays for the membership.
Drive Less? Insurance Could Be Less Expensive
During the pandemic, many auto insurers offered lower premiums as consumers were driving less than normal. Can this be a way for car owners to save?
Experian explains that using public transport or even working from home could reduce the number of miles on the vehicle racked up during the year. This decreased driving could possibly lead to lower rates.
In fact, the site reports that some insurers could offer discounts to those who don’t drive many miles. However, before car owners get too excited, they should talk to their insurance provider.
Not every insurance provider offers the same discounts or options. In addition, car owners will need to maintain the adequate insurance coverage required in their state.
Less Driving Leads to Less Wear and Tear
Decreasing the amount the car owner drives also leads to less overall wear and tear on the vehicle. In addition, less driving means fewer miles accumulated on the odometer.
Driving less could possibly help car owners extend the life of their car and perhaps even help the resale value of the vehicle, too. While not driving as often can help decrease the wear on a vehicle and keep the mileage lower, car owners should still drive the vehicle regularly. Letting a car sit for an extended period without starting the engine or driving isn’t good for the vehicle.
Drive Less and Decrease the Carbon Footprint
While the inclusion of catalytic converters on modern vehicles has helped to minimize the emissions released into the air, vehicles that include a standard fuel-injected engine still release emissions and still add to pollution.
Decreasing the amount that an individual drives could help to lower the amount of these emissions in the air and help decrease an individual’s carbon footprint. While the change could be small, it’s still beneficial. Even small changes can help the environment.
Limiting Car Usage Could Increase Physical Activity
If an individual needs to go to the store but does not want to drive, they have a few options. They can take public transportation, they can carpool, walk, or bike. The latter two options translate into a healthy dose of physical activity.
By limiting car usage, car owners could become more physically active. Instead of always relying on their vehicle, they might be able to walk or bike instead.
Unfortunately, not every city or town offers biking lanes; some individuals might live in an area that isn’t safe for walking. However, those who can safely walk or bike to their destinations could embrace these alternative transportation options.
How to Limit Car Usage
Many car owners have become dependent on their vehicles to take them to any place they wish to go. During a time of rising gas prices, though, it might be necessary for car owners to cut back on their driving to help save money at the pump.
Changing driving patterns could be an adjustment. However, here are a few ways that car owners can change daily habits to save money on fuel and cut down on driving miles:
- Start a carpool. Instead of driving separately, see if co-workers want to start a carpool. Everyone can take a turn during the week.
- Take public transportation. Taking the bus or the subway could be a cheaper option than driving. Car owners could save money on parking, too.
- Map out errands and trips. Plan out errands ahead of time to keep trips focused. Ideally, tackle errands in the same area at once. This can help drivers reduce their driving.
- Ditch parent pickup and drop off. Some parents need to drop off and pick up their children, but others choose this transportation option. Opt for the school bus if possible.
- Enjoy local amenities instead of less convenient destinations. Instead of visiting a water park that’s a half hour away, think about buying passes to the local pool instead.
- Focus on trips for needs not wants. Many consumers might be scratching off expenses that they consider wants. As costs rise, needs come first. Car owners might ask if the trip is a need or a want. Is it worth the price of the trip?
Other Ways to Save Money on Fuel
Some trips and driving miles are necessary. While car owners could limit their driving to lower their fuel costs, other bad habits also drive the need for more fuel. Here are a few tips to increase fuel efficiency and endure fewer trips to the pump:
- Don’t idle unnecessarily. Yes, vehicles idle at stop lights. However, some drivers sit with their engines on and check their email. Don’t idle unnecessarily; it just wastes fuel. In addition, more modern vehicles often include an automatic stop/start option that allows the engine to turn off when the car idles at a light. This simple feature could help fuel efficiency.
- Check the tires. Low tire pressure actually can put a dent on fuel efficiency. Check the tire pressure and make sure tires are rotated regularly. Schedule tire rotations during routine oil changes.
- Change the oil. Don’t wait to schedule that oil change. Lack of maintenance also can decrease fuel efficiency. Pay attention to the mileage and schedule necessary oil changes.
- Don’t add weight. Sometimes towing or carrying extra weight is inevitable, but other times it’s a choice. Towing that boat to the lake will decrease fuel efficiency and cost more in gas money. Is the trip worth the fuel?
- Don’t speed. Traveling at higher speeds requires more fuel. Stick to the speed limit.
- Choose the highway. Standard vehicles offer better fuel efficiency for highway driving. However, many hybrids provide better gas mileage in the city. If the vehicle favors fuel (and isn’t a hybrid), choose the highway when possible.
Should Consumers Invest in Electric
When fuel costs are high, consumers might start feeling electrified by the potential savings of electric vehicles. While it’s true that driving these vehicles lets owners skip the pump, electric vehicles are powered by a battery that’s charged by electricity.
While fuel pumps are plentiful, charging stations aren’t so common in all areas. Car owners might want to invest in a level 2 charging station to ensure that they can fully charge their electric vehicle overnight at home. In addition, they might need to plot out any long trips to account for charging needs.
For some consumers, the price of a new electric vehicle also could be beyond their price range. The least expensive electric model on the market is the Nissan Leaf, which starts at $27,400; Business Insider reports that it’s also still eligible for a tax credit.
The Many Advantages of Decreasing the Drive
The biggest advantage of limiting car usage is the savings related to fuel costs. Less driving means fewer visits to the gas station. In addition, car owners will put fewer miles on their vehicle; the car also will endure less wear and tear. There also could be benefits related to insurance costs, but car owners will need to reach out to their provider.
Car owners might not think about the eco-benefits related to decreased vehicle use. Yet, every time an individual walks or bikes instead of turning the ignition on their car, they can help decrease their impact on the environment.