While gas mileage is gradually going up in cars, the price to get around always seems to even out for the worst. With electric vehicles there’s the potential for great savings, but the market for reliable models always keeps them at a premium, even when used – sometimes negating any savings from lower MPG. Here are some cheap transportation options.
The Three Transportation Needs
There are primarily three reasons to utilize transportation: house chores, work commuting, and entertainment. The needs for house chores usually require cargo space for groceries and shopping items. Work commuting usually aims for getting one person from point A to point B in as low a cost and with as much comfort as possible – or multiple people if dropping off kids. Entertainment generally emphasizes comfort and the ability to carry multiple people – such as friends or a date.
The most obvious transport solution for saving money, but not necessarily time (unless you can relax while doing it) is to use public transportation. In order to do house chores while using public transport, you need a way to have cargo space either on or along with you. People with fixed incomes will generally use public transportation and take a wheeled basket with them. I would suggest replicating that if it’s your preference.
Car pooling is another option to save money. If you have neighbors, friends, roommates or family then you can go to the store together and split bulk items for some extra savings. You’ll also save the gas equivalent of transporting a whole different car since you’re only using one.
Bicycling is another option. You can purchase storage bags and baskets to put your grocery items in. Some even attach larger baskets to the back of their bike for towing larger hauls. If you are going to consider this option, also consider getting an electric bike or a cruiser bike that concentrates on comfort rather than extreme performance. Also, with an easily detachable storage unit, you can combine the option of public transport and this. Just detach the bag before you put your bike up on the public transport rack.
What makes the most sense, and what most people use, for commuting is public transportation. Some states, such as California, allow for public transportation money to be taken out of your paycheck before taxes, so you’re saving that amount in taxes when commuting. The unfortunate reality of public transportation is you likely won’t get to sit down, but if you have some way to entertain yourself while commuting and standing, then it can be preferable to having to pay attention to the road while stuck in morning traffic.
Just like with house chores, some people choose to get up early to bicycle to their work. Bicycling to work can act doubly as your morning workout and your commute. It can also be especially refreshing if you can utilize a bike trail that usually runs through local parks and nature reserves. You can also combine two, by taking your bike onto public transport, as I used to do when going to school.
Since you usually don’t need another passenger when commuting and you want to keep a low profile, alternative ways of getting around are a lot more viable. Utilizing a electric bike, manual scooters/skateboards or even electric scooters/skateboards can be an attractive option; especially if the commute is short and flat.
The options for moving around for entertainment purposes are determined by what sort of entertainment you’re doing. When it comes to dates or nights out with friends, generally just carpooling into one person’s car is the best answer.
However, if you’re traveling alone – such as for the purposes of going to a friend’s house or going to meet others somewhere – then other opportunities open up for you; all already mentioned in this article. Going by bike or small wheeled device is an attractive option. If nothing else, it will let you better get to know the places surrounding you. Whatever is most convenient is probably the better option, with consideration of things like the ability to store your bike inside the destination, especially at night time.
Public transportation can also be an option if going alone – the benefit being that the off hours of the day might have less commuters. Going in packs into public transportation might not even save you money though, since you’re all individually buying a ticket compared to a potentially lower cost of car pooling.