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Commuters Come Together to Carpool, Save Money

By: Janelle Lilley Email
By: Janelle Lilley Email

It's costing commuters more to crank their cars.

Between high gas prices and the Valley's hilly terrain, just driving to and from work can be pricey, especially for many Augusta County residents who commute to Harrisonburg or across the mountain to Charlottesville.

However, Rebecca Joyce, of the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission, says she can cut your commuting cost in half or even less through carpooling.

"Cost savings definitely is the biggest plus for doing a carpool," says Joyce.

It's not just saving on fuel. From tire rotation to oil changes, some carpoolers say they're saving at least $1,200 a year by carpooling 30 minutes to work with just one other person.

"If you get four people in your carpool that at least doubles that if not triples it," says carpooler Sarah Baugher.

Baugher has been carpooling from Waynesboro to Charlottesville for years, and she says carpooling isn't inconvenient or awkward like many people believe.

She says, especially in the Valley, fellow carpoolers are happy to be flexible.

"It's great. I mean, it's actually a stress reliever not having to drive every single day. Everybody that I've ever carpooled with has been very flexible with their time in that they can leave 15 minutes early if you need to," encourages Baugher.

The program also matches commuters up by preferences, like smoking or nonsmoking and chatty or quiet.

Joyce says, between saving money and the environment, there's an upside to high gas prices.

"It actually helps because people are starting to think more about doing carpools," says Joyce.

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