Carpooling to Achieve Better Used Car Values

by Don Elliott on January 10, 2012

If you have shopped for the right car, negotiated the best purchase price, driven sensibly, and provided regularly scheduled maintenance, have you done as much as you can to get the most value out of your car? Maybe not!

Carpooling is a concept that has its roots in the 1970s when gasoline prices doubled almost overnight. Government agencies were formed to organize suburban riders together for their workday commute into the city. Vanpools, government owned or subsidized multi-passenger vehicles, filled the void between personal transportation and the city bus.

Plenty has changed since the roots of ride sharing with one possible exception. Your car probably still has a few empty seats as you travel to work or across country. You bear the cost of tolls on your own. Your car depreciates 100% while the cars with passengers wiz by in the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane. And, you leave a bigger footprint on the environment than is really necessary.

Smartphones and the Internet have introduced an easier way to find riders than was available back in the 70s. Social networking provides a new way to network with friends and acquaintances to find someone with whom you can share a ride. Based on AAA estimates, at today’s gas prices, it costs about $.58 per mile to drive an average vehicle. If two people rode together for their 40 mile round trip to work, they would save $2,900 per year—each.

Carpooling is not only for drives to work. Increasingly, drivers are finding passengers for longer trips. Put that extra space in your car to work. Are you heading to Cleveland or Tuscaloosa? Reach out to your network to see if there is anyone headed in the same direction. It is often easier to find a ride with someone else than it is to find riders for your car. But none-the-less, sharing the expenses of a trip reduces the cost and increases your car value.

A few of words of caution! Check your car insurance to be sure that you are covered for carpooling. Carpooling is generally covered, but using your personal car like a taxi is a different matter. Second, do a little homework on your carpool partner and lay out the terms of your arrangement up front. There is no particular etiquette around sharing a ride, except to agree on what is okay and what is not okay before you get into the car.

Finally, carpooling will not only increase your used car value, but also open up your opportunity to meet a new friend.

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