Car pooling to save money on car costs

15 Jan 10 / Posted by: Jessica

Want to do something kind for your wallet and the environment?

How about leaving the Toyota at home this week and investigating an alternative option like carpooling or car-sharing.

Thanks to the Internet, hitching a ride in someone else’s car is no longer just for students and backpackers – sites like www.carpoolnz.org and www.cityhop.co.nz have turned the concept into a viable alternative to public transport.

Whether you want to get from Piha to Auckland City on a daily basis or from Blenheim to Christchurch for a concert next Saturday, www.carpoolnz.org is a great place to start.

Search their listings to get yourself from A to B on a regular or one-off basis, and if you’re going somewhere and have a spare seat available you can always advertise a carpooling opportunity too.

Normal etiquette is that you split the cost of the fuel for the journey between everyone in the car, although that can be agreed on a case-by-case basis.

Of course, petrol isn’t the only expense when it comes to owning a car – registration, insurance, ongoing servicing and maintenance all add up and on top of that you can also count on the value of your pride and joy depreciating by about 13% every year.

The AA estimates a petrol vehicle over 2000cc has a current running cost of more than 85 cents per kilometre traveled, which if you’re traveling the average of 14,000km a year (approximately 40km a day) amounts to more than $12,000 – definitely worth splitting with a car-pooling buddy if you can.

Once you’ve weaned yourself from your car dependency you could get really brave and consider ditching the car altogether.

In major cities that’s becoming more of a realistic possibility with the availability of car-sharing services like CityHop.

Based on similar systems popular in America, England and Australia, Cityhop promises all the benefits of owning a car and none of the hassles.

For an annual membership fee, you get access to a late-model fuel-efficient low-emission car for as little as $15 an hour. No cleaning, no additional payment for fuel or servicing – and you don’t even have to garage it.

You just book online, and then pick your car up with the swipe of an electronic smartcard from one of numerous inner-city locations.

It’s a great option if you live in an apartment in the city and don’t want to have to pay for parking overnight or if you carpool to work and just need a car to do some errands in the middle of the day. Cityhop currently operates in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and New Plymouth.

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