Rideshare Makes a Comeback as Pump Prices Go Sky High

March 2, 2012 7:13 pmBy: 

photoGas prices are surpassing their historic high watermark in the fleeting days of  winter.  This morning’s average price is $3.74 a gallon  in the Washington metro area,  and from coast to coast, and it is  $3.86  a gallon in Washington, D. C. proper.

Higher pump prices are not only forcing  metro area motorists  and commuters to change  their driving habits, gas prices are also compelling them to stand in slug lines for a ride to work and to sign up for  carpool options  with RideShare, and even to click on to CraigsList to find ways of beating the cost of gas, observes AAA Mid-Atlantic and Commuter Connections.

“The pace of retail gasoline increases has slowed in recent days,  the cost of gas continues to venture into never before seen territories, and motorists are weighing their options,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic ‘s Manager of Public and Government Affairs.

“We changed our driving habits when gas prices soared to into record terrain and hit four dollars a gallon for the first time ever in 2008 and we are doing it again in the wake of the latest spike in gas prices. One upside for motorists living in the Washington metropolitan area is the ability to have a back-up commuting plan when they do not want to drive.”

In several senses, the high cost of gas  has a way of serving as a wake-up call to commuters.  It sends a powerful message: there are options to driving to work alone. As a result, c carpooling is making a comeback in the Washington metro area, as it is in other parts of the region and country.

In fact, history and experience show, new rideshare applications tend to go up and stay up while gasoline prices are on the rise, notes Commuter Connections. As proof, new ridesharing applications increased by double digits, 20 percent, last year, the most expensive year ever for the cost of gasoline.

“Commuters have more reasonably priced choices they can make in the way they travel to and from work,” commented Nicholas Ramfos, Director of Commuter Connections at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. “Ridesharing even just one day a week can cut commuting costs by 20 percent.”

In 2008, when gas prices soared to four dollars and higher for the first time ever, the Washington metro area saw a spike in the number of applicants for the Commuter Connections Ridesharing Program. The numbers increased by 48 percent between May 2007 and May 2008. What is more, the number of carpool applicants increased by 22 percent in just one month, from April 2008 to May 2008, according to Commuter Connections officials.

The Commuter Connections Ridesharing Program provides residents with a free list of commuters who are interested in carpooling/vanpooling, who have similar work schedules and commutes. According to information provided by Commuter Connections, over 20,000 commuters rely on their services to provide free, up-to-the-minute ridesharing information.

“There are a lot of things a driver can do to save some money at the pump,” adds Townsend. To this end, AAA Mid-Atlantic and Commuter Connections offer the following tips to help motorists save money in these times of increasing gas prices:

  • Consider Alternative Ways of Commuting – Make carpooling a part of your routine once a week. Consider participating in Rideshare Tuesday.
  • Drive Sensibly – Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas and lowers gas mileage by 33 percent on the highway and by 5 percent around town.
  • Observe The Speed Limit – Gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Also, observing the speed limit keeps motorists and their passengers safer.
  • Remove Excess Weight – Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle. An additional 100 pounds could reduce your vehicle’s MPG by up to two percent.
  • Keep Your Engine Properly Tuned – Having an engine tuned can improve its gas mileage by an average of four percent. Fixing other serious maintenance problems can improve gas mileage by as much as 40 percent.
  • Plan And Combine Trips – Making several short trips can use twice as much fuel as longer multipurpose trips. Trip planning ensures that traveling is done when the engine is warmed-up and it can reduce the distance you travel. The AAA TripTik mobile app gives motorists turn-by-turn directions and lists daily fuel costs at gas stations near a user’s location.
  • Choose A More Efficient Vehicle – Selecting which vehicle to purchase is the most important fuel economy decision you will make. Use www.fueleconomy.gov’s Find and Compare Cars section to find the most fuel efficient vehicle that will meet your needs.

 

 

Comments

More Top Stories

  • Military Top Stories NORAD exercises over the Washington area Monday night

    NORAD exercises over the Washington area Monday night

    Russia has been flexing its muscles lately, sending long-range bombers around the globe, from the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. While no one is saying there’s any connection, the North American Aerospace Defense Command says it will be conducting exercises over the Washington area between midnight tonight (Monday) and 2 a.m. Tuesday. The exercises are carefully planned and closely controlled, NORAD said in a press advisory, adding that NORAD has conducted exercise flights of this nature throughout the U.S. […]

    Read more →
  • Consumers Top Stories WaPo to Washington: Drop dead

    WaPo to Washington: Drop dead

    Ever since billionaire Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post, there’s been the expectation that he would come up with a mind-bending digital solution to the enigma the Internet presents to newspapers and other print publications. “Maybe he’ll give every subscriber a Kindle,” one journalist speculated at a local watering hole shortly after Bezos bought the paper in the summer of 2013. It turns out to be just the opposite: Subscribers have to have their own Kindle Fire (the […]

    Read more →
  • Police & Crime Top Stories Vienna Transit police release sketch of carjacking “person of interest”

    Transit police release sketch of carjacking “person of interest”

      Metro Transit Police today released a composite sketch of a person of interest wanted for questioning in acarjacking/kidnapping that occurred on November 12 shortly before 10:30 p.m. at the Vienna Metrorail Station parking lot. The victim reported that a suspect approached her vehicle as she was exiting the Vienna Metrorail Station, displayed a handgun, entered the vehicle and forced her to drive to several establishments in Prince George’s County to withdraw cash and make purchases. The suspect released the victim at the […]

    Read more →
  • Arlington County Government Top Stories Transportation Arlington scraps street cars, Bulova “saddened and disappointed”

    Arlington scraps street cars, Bulova “saddened and disappointed”

    Bowing to growing community opposition, the Arlington County Board of Supervisors is driving a stake through the Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcar projects, also effectively killing an ambitious program to encourage high-density development in both areas. The action follows the victory of streetcar opponent John Vihstadt to the Arlington board in the recent election. Vihstadt, who has labeled the streetcar project as “financial and operational albatross,” won a special election to the board in April, replacing transit advocate Chris Zimmerman. The […]

    Read more →
  • Police & Crime Top Stories Vienna Transit police investigate carjacking at Vienna Metro

    Transit police investigate carjacking at Vienna Metro

    Metro Transit Police are seeking the public’s assistance to identify a person of interest in a carjacking/kidnapping investigation. At approximately 12:40 a.m. Thursday, Metro Transit Police were notified of a carjacking/kidnapping incident. The victim reported that a suspect approached her vehicle as she was exiting the Vienna Metrorail Station, displayed a handgun, entered the vehicle and forced her to drive to several ATMs to withdraw cash.  The suspect released the victim at the New Carrollton Metrorail Station in Maryland and […]

    Read more →
  • Health Top Stories McAuliffe kicks off open enrollment

    McAuliffe kicks off open enrollment

    Governor Terry McAuliffe kicked off this year’s open enrollment for the Federal Marketplace today, promising to take an aggressive role in helping eligible Virginians sign up for high-quality, affordable health insurance. “Quality and affordable health care is a basic necessity for healthy families and a strong economy,” Governor McAuliffe said during a press conference at the Vernon J. Harris Medical and Dental Center in Richmond. My goal is to enroll up to 160,000 Virginians in affordable health coverage between now […]

    Read more →
  • Real Estate Top Stories NoVa real estate inventory rises, sales somewhat slow

    NoVa real estate inventory rises, sales somewhat slow

    The Northern Virginia October housing market continues to show a boost in inventory, with a 49 percent rise in the months’ supply of available homes compared to October last year. “Despite the slow start to October, it managed to finish quite strong,” said Gary Lange, Coldwell Banker Residential Realtor®. “We saw more traffic on listings and open houses than we have seen in a while. Buyers are still out there looking for that perfect home before the holidays.” Appropriate pricing and […]

    Read more →
  • Top Stories Transportation Overnight traffic stops planned for I-66

    Overnight traffic stops planned for I-66

    Over the next four months, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will stop all lanes of traffic for up to 30 minutes between midnight and 2 a.m. while crews install 36 gantries between the Capital Beltway and Route 29 in Centreville for the I-66 Active Traffic Management system. Weather permitting, the first closure will be between 12:01 a.m. and 2 a.m., Friday, Nov. 14 on eastbound I-66 at mile marker 53 in Centreville. All eastbound traffic will come to a […]

    Read more →