Whether you will be living on campus or commuting from home, saving money on gas can be an important part of your overall plan to manage and save money. As anyone who commutes to a job knows, gas is a major component of job related expenses. Anything you can do to reduce this cost, will increase the amount of money you have available for everything else.
Buying gas is of course an integral part of driving a car, and finding ways to reduce how much you buy won’t necessarily be easy. But anything that you can save will not only improve your finances, but will also be good for the environment. The less gas that you use, the less pollution is being put into the air.
For most people, saving on gas will require the use of several strategies, and the overall reduction in the use of your car.
Use Public Transportation And/Or Campus ShuttlesIt is a sad state of affairs that many students – just like their counterparts in the workforce – don’t use public transportation, even when it is available. Yes, there are certain benefits to driving your own car. You can go where you want when you want, without ever having to wait for a bus or train. But you often spend more money for the privilege.
Whether you live on campus, or drive to campus, try to use the campus shuttle as often as possible. At most, you want to use your car to get you to the campus, and then use other methods of transportation once you are there.
If you live off campus, you can often either eliminate or at least reduce your car commute by using public transportation. This is especially valuable if the school is located on a major rail or bus line. Once again, all you need to do is get to the campus and once there, you should be able use shuttles to get you where you need on the campus itself.
Carpool Or Rideshare – Or Earn Money Doing It
You can probably find opportunities for car pooling or ridesharing to your school whether you live in a dorm, or you commute to school. Check the campus bulletin boards, the school newspaper, the school website, the local newspaper or online sources, such as Craigslist for carpool opportunities.
Since most universities have thousands of students, it’s highly likely that someone is going to the same place you are at roughly the same time. Though it may require some schedule juggling on your part, it’s probably something that you can make work. If you can, you can even cut your gas usage in half or more.
Here’s something else to think about…if you do drive to campus every day, try advertising to attract students looking to carpool. You can charge them a small fee to help pay for the gas, which has the potential to reduce or eliminate your gas expense entirely, depending upon the number of students that you’re carpooling with. It puts an entrepreneurial spin on something as ordinary as a daily commute.
Buy The Most Economical Vehicle You Can
The most important decision effecting how much gas you will use for your car will be made the day that you buy it. Some cars are very fuel-efficient, and some aren’t. For commuting purposes, it’s always best to have a subcompact car that gets the highest miles per gallon possible.
Yes, it may fit your style to drive around campus in an oversized monster pickup truck, but you’ll also use more gas – and a lot more at that.
Related: What to Look For in a Cheap Used Car
Luckily, it also generally follows that the more fuel-efficient a car is, the less expensive it is too. This will also mean a lower price, lower monthly payments, and almost certainly lower car insurance premiums.
Finding a way to live life in the modern world without a car is a true talent. It’s also a talent that, if mastered, has potential to save you thousands of dollars per year. As a student, you are at a time of life when many people do live life without a car. Yes, the idea is intimidating, and smacks of major inconvenience, but it may be something that you want to try during your university years.
Though we may think living without a car is impossible today, the fact is that millions of people are doing it right now. If you don’t have something – like a car – you are forced to find ways around it. And you will!
That may not be as convenient as having a car, but it will be a lot less expensive. You can learn to walk longer distances, to ride a bike certain times of the year, take advantage of the campus shuttle, and make friends with people who have cars. Though it may cost you some cash here and there, it will be nothing compared to the expense of maintaining your own car year round.
What do you do to save money on gas, or even on car expenses in general?