Cutting down on transportation costs is one of the great individual benefits of ridesharing. The driver’s costs for fuel, vehicle maintenance and tolls are offset by the money contributed by the riders. Riders can reduce wear and tear on their own vehicles, and thus their maintenance costs, as well as the cost of purchasing fuel. Riders may be able to give up car ownership altogether, vastly increasing their savings.
The amount that an individual can save by ridesharing varies by situation. For a one-time, long-distance, inter-city ride, the rideshare participants save on fuel costs or the cost of airfare. For a daily commuting carpool, savings will vary with the length of the commute. All ridesharing savings will increase as the number of participants in a particular rideshare increases. Other factors influencing rideshare savings include the fuel efficiency of the vehicle, the price of gas and the cost of tolls and parking.
A useful tool for determining basic commuting costs and rideshare savings is a commuting cost calculator. These are online calculators where individuals can enter their commute information, and receive an instant estimate of their current commuting costs, including both fixed and variable costs, and the amount that they could save by ridesharing. For example, according to one calculator, an individual commuting with one other person on a 30 miles roundtrip, in a 25 mpg vehicle, with gas at $2.50/gal, would save between $1,140 (including one-half of variable costs) and $2,042 (including one-half of all costs) annually.