If you have a car, there’s a good chance a significant portion of your income goes into keeping it fueled, maintained, and otherwise ready to tackle your transportation needs. However, you may not realize you how costly it can be to have a car.

According to a recent study from the Auto Insurance Center, the average commuter wastes an average of $960 while stuck in traffic, and drivers in urban areas fare even worse. Let’s take a look at a few simple ways to make your commutes less costly.

3 Easy Ways To Cut Down On Costly Car Commutes
Photo by Lars Plougmann

Consider Carpooling

If you have a car with room for passengers, or don’t mind riding in unfamiliar vehicles to get where you need to go, think about joining a ridesharing group, or offering up your vehicle for others. If you benefit from another person’s vehicle, the most you’ll likely have to do is pitch in a few bucks for gas. On the other hand, if you provide a vehicle for others to ride in, you’ll probably receive some compensation for the convenience and trouble.

This is a great option to pursue if you work at an office or attend classes at a university and know there are several coworkers or students in or near your neighborhood. Besides the cost-saving benefits of carpooling, at least you’ll have people to strike up conversations with when dealing with traffic jams.
Familiarize Yourself With Fuel-Saving Strategies

One of the most frustrating parts of your job may be the amount of fuel you waste driving to it. To compensate, learn some tips to save fuel so your commute doesn’t drain your wallet. For example, only use your heater and air conditioner when absolutely necessary, accelerate slowly, and minimize brake usage.

Also, think practically and figure out whether you can combine errands with your commutes. That way, you can potentially take fewer tips, which might reduce fuel usage, expenses, and wear on your car.
Don’t Drive Without Insurance

You may be tempted to try and drive without insurance, with the perspective that you might never need to file a claim if you drive carefully. However, that’s a very risky approach to take, and in most states, it’s against the law to drive without insurance, and you’ll be fined if caught.

The likelihood of eventually needing to rely upon your car insurance coverage theoretically goes up if you tend to drive in highly trafficked areas, too. Even if you’re an extremely cautious driver, the people you share the road with may not be so attentive.

Fortunately, if you need to find an insurance agent, doing so is easier than you may think, thanks to online search engines. In New York alone, one insurance provider alone has over 80 agents to help you. No matter where you live, it’s not difficult to connect with an insurance agent and get set up with a plan that suits your budget and driving habits.

Hopefully, by using these three tips, you’ll be able to avoid a scenario like the one mentioned earlier, where drivers waste nearly $1,000 per year as they commute. Some of these suggestions take time to implement, but they should be worth your effort.