Commuting is a hard sell no matter how you look at it. Sure you need to work, and sometimes that means driving a fair distance, especially if you already own a home or have a specialty occupation that cannot be readily practiced outside of certain areas (or both). But nobody enjoys sitting in gridlock for hours each day, both coming and going. Not only is it a strain on your psyche (hello, road rage!) and a stress on your finances (sometimes you wonder if you’re driving to work or working to drive), but it also taxes your environmental sensibilities. You hold a job in order to support your family and create a better future for them, a stance that is totally undermined by the amount of hydrocarbons you spew into the air each day. But there are ways to green up the works when it comes to your daily commute, so here are just a few alternatives to consider.
- Ride a bike. You might not be that stressed out about your daily drive if your office is actually close enough to conveniently ride a bike to (let’s say ten miles or less). But every little bit can help when it comes to saving the environment (and your budget). Plus, you will get the daily dose of exercise you need stay healthy and fit, burn calories and shed pounds, and get the boost of energy and endorphins that will carry you through the day with an alert and sunny disposition.
- Get your Class M. Because motorcycles are so much lighter than cars, they can go the same distance on a lot less fuel, meaning far lower carbon emissions. Throw in the fact that they are usually allowed in the carpool lane (or between lanes) and you could find that you’re not only cutting back on fuel, but also on the amount of time you spend on the road each day.
- Alternative fuel vehicles. While alternative fuels like ethanol, methanol, and compressed natural gas have yet to take off in a big way, cleaner-burning diesel cars have realized major growth in recent years, as have hybrids and electric vehicles. In fact, there are more options than ever for discriminating drivers that would like to save the Earth even as they save at the pump. These days you can find government rebates on fully-electric and plug-in hybrids, which is great considering how expensive many are upfront when compared to their gas-guzzling counterparts. But you’ll also save a ton of money on fuel and you may even be eligible to use the car pool lane when driving solo.
- Carpool. Can’t afford a fancy new hybrid? No problem. Just find some folks at work that are likewise looking to hop in the carpool lane, save some money on gas, and get out from behind the wheel a couple times a week. Carpooling can ease the many burdens of commuting for everyone involved and you may even find that your company offers some kind of rewards system for those involved in this eminently eco-friendly enterprise.
- Public transportation. Taking a limo, a cab, or even a service for car hire Spain, San Francisco, or Saskatchewan-based is bound to do just as much damage as driving your car each day. So if you want to go the mass transit route you must emphasize the “mass” part of the equation by choosing trains, buses, or other types of public tram. As a bonus you’ll cut way back on car expenditures (although you will have to pay for a monthly or yearly pass) and you’ll majorly reduce the stress of daily commuting.