Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Is your daily commute costing you too much?

While still early into the new year, it is a great time to examine costs in your daily life that you would like to reduce. Though one cost, transportation, can be a nagging one, and pretty much none of us can avoid it. However, with a helpful tool available from Public Transportation Takes Us There, you can easily calculate what it costs to ride a train or bus vs. driving your car.

To begin, enter your miles per gallon, price per gallon of gas, distance traveled round trip, size of car, parking costs, and finally the cost for taking the bus or train.  After you have obtained your figure, dig a little deeper. Just because it costs a little less to drive to work, it does not mean that it is worth it. For example, think about the time and stress involved with driving as opposed to riding the train. You cannot read in your car. You cannot catch up on work. Moreover, this calculator does not factor in any pre-tax transportation benefit that your company may provide you. That will knock your cost to ride public transportation down that much more.

If you have decided that driving is cheaper, then take your homework assignment to the next level and see if you are paying too much for gas. Several comparison sites can help you compare prices. One, Gas Buddy, allows you to enter your zip code, grade of gas, time period for comparison, and even gas provider, and shows you a listing of area gas stations and their corresponding prices per gallon. Keep in mind that these prices are reported in by consumers, not the stations themselves, so they may not always be as accurate as the station's.

In any case, take a few minutes and check to see if your commute is as inexpensive as it can be.  It's not going away, so you might as well as pay as little as you can for it.