"It's a cultural question. Will people want to share cars?"
Karl Iagnemma, Writer
Carpooling (also sometimes referred to as ride-sharing or car-sharing) can be defined as the sharing of your car with other passengers instead of going by car alone.
Carpooling has become extremely popular in the past decade since an increasing number of people got aware of the problem of climate change and want to make their contribution to fight global warming.
Even though car-sharing also has many additional advantages, there are also some problems related to it. In this article, the pros and cons of carpooling are examined.
One important advantage of carpooling is that it can significantly reduce the level of air pollution. Especially in big cities, the level of air pollution is quite high during commuting times in the morning and in the evening.
Since through the use of car-sharing, we need less cars to get to work and back, also the air quality would be improved. Thus, car pooling is an easy and yet effective measure to mitigate the air pollution issue in many cities.
Through the use of cars and other motor vehicles, large amounts of particles are emitted into our air every day. Even if we could barely see them, these particles pose a serious health hazard since they could cause pulmonary as well as cardiovascular diseases in the long run. Thus, by using carpools instead of going by car alone, we could also significantly reduce the issue of particle pollution since less cars are needed overall.
Also the level of greenhouse gas emissions could be greatly reduced through the use of carpools on a large scale. The more people are in one car, the less cars need to be on our streets and also the level of greenhouse gas emissions would decline. Thus, by engaging in car sharing activities, you can not only improve our air quality, but you can also slow down global warming.
Especially in big cities, the formation of smog is a big issue. Every morning while most of the people are commuting to work, there is a big cloud of smog over these cities. High levels of smog can be quite harmful to human health and might lead to all kinds of health issues. By using carpools, the level of smog can be reduced since less vehicles will be on our streets and emissions will be lowered.
Noise pollution is a significant problem in many big cities. Most of the noise is due to the use of large numbers of motor vehicles. In order to reduce the level of noise in cities, it is crucial to reduce the number of cars. Therefore, carpooling would be an effective measure against noise pollution since less cars would be used and the noise level could be significantly lowered.
Everyone who is commuting on a daily basis knows how it feels like to be stuck in traffic jams. Many of us spend many weeks of their life in traffic jams. This can be quite annoying since our time is usually quite limited and the time that we spend in traffic jams is missing for other things. Thus, through the use of carpools, there would be less cars on the streets and the chances to get stuck in traffic jams might be lower due to that.
If you take other people with you in your car, you can also save plenty of money on gas since you can share your expenses with the other passengers. Thus, if you take 2 other people with you, you only have to pay one third of the gas bill instead of paying it alone. Therefore, carpooling can also make sense from an economic perspective since you can save plenty of money in the long run.
Depending on the area you live in, you may also be able to get to work faster through carpooling since there might be carpool lanes which you can use if you commute with more than one person in your car. Carpool lanes are especially common in many American states.
However, there are also many countries on our planet where carpool lanes are missing. Thus, the advantage of faster commuting through the use of carpools lanes may only be a valid argument if your region provides those lanes.
Since you will spend plenty of time together with other people in your car, your connection to them will improve and you might become really good friends with your carpool crew. Thus, especially if you are new in a city, carpooling might be a great way to get to know people and to make new friends in your area.
You might also get additional career opportunities from carpooling. Over time, you will get to know many different people if you use carpooling quite frequently. Some of them may work in high-wage jobs and may even have leading positions in big companies. Thus, you might get a good connection to those people and may be able to get a job in those companies in the long run.
There are also people who simply can’t drive. This may be due to the fact that they never got a driver’s license. It could also be due to physical or mental issues. Thus, for those people, carpooling might be a great way to get around, especially in areas with insufficient public transport where people are quite dependent on using their cars.
Through the use of carpools, you might also be able to work in the car while going to work from time to time. Every day you are not the driver, you could just get your laptop and work a little bit. By doing so, you could use your time quite efficiently and you might be able to leave your workplace earlier due to that.
Apart from the various advantages of carpools, there are also some problems related to it. One disadvantage of carpools is that it takes a lot of flexibility away from you. For instance, imagine you wake up earlier one day and want to go to work as soon as possible.
You might be able to do so alone, however, with carpool fellows, this will not be possible since you arranged a fixed time to go to work.
The same is true when it comes to going back to work. Some days, you might want to leave earlier but will not be able to do so since you have to wait for your other carpool passengers.
People are different and depending on the character of an individual, while some people love chatting in the morning, others need a quiet environment in order to wake up and to prepare for the day. Thus, if you are one of those people who needs a quiet space in the morning, carpooling might not be suitable for you since it can be quite noisy in there if your carpool fellows chat a lot.
If you engage in carpooling activities, you have also a great responsibility to drive carefully in order to avoid accidents. Through carpooling, a potential mistake of yours could not only cost your life, but also the life of your carpool passengers. Thus, the level of responsibility greatly increases with carpooling and you should be ready and aware of this fact.
Depending on your car insurance, there might also be some kind of insurance issues related to carpooling.
Some insurance companies might prevent you to take strangers with you or you might also have to pay higher insurance premiums when it comes to engaging in carpooling.
Thus, make sure to check out your insurance contract before engaging in carpool models.
The efficiency of carpooling is heavily dependent on the level of reliability of your passengers. If all your carpool fellows are reliable and on time, it can be a great way to get to work together. However, if your carpool passengers are often late or do not show up at all without prior notice, carpooling may become quite inefficient and may also result in problems if you get to work too late.
Although carpooling can be considered to be eco-friendlier compared to the use of cars solely on your own, there are still ways to get to work that are better for our environment. For instance, using public transport will be still much more environmentally-friendly.
Even better would be to go to work by bicycle if you live close to your workplace. Thus, there might be other alternatives for you which could improve your ecological footprint even more than carpooling.
There might also be some safety issues related to the use of carpools. You might join a carpool with irresponsible drivers which could lead to serious car accidents. You might also not know the people of your carpool when you initially set up the carpool crew and there might be people in there which may suffer from mental health issues or other things that could cause problems in the long run.
Through carpools, also the chances for the spread of diseases increase significantly. Since you are in a closed space and do not have too much space between you and your carpool passengers, if one carpool crew member is sick, chances are that you might also get sick since all the bacteria will spread in the car. Thus, especially in times of epidemics or even pandemics, the use of carpools might not be the best way to get around.
You might also have a hard time finding carpool members if you live in a remote area. Carpooling only makes sense if your carpool members live close to you since you do not have to many diversions. Thus, carpooling might not be suitable for every area since it might simply not be efficient at all.
Another problem with carpooling is that people may quit from your carpool on a regular basis. Some people may recognize that they do not want to engage in carpooling any longer since they want to be more flexible.
Others may move or may drop out from your carpool due to various other reasons. Anyways, you need substitutes in case this happens and finding suitable substitutes might not be that easy and may take some organizational effort as well.
If you engage in carpooling, only one unreliable passenger might cause problems for all other carpool crew members since all of them might get to work too late if they have to wait for this one person. Thus, carpools only work if everyone is responsible and reliable. If this is not the case, carpooling can be quite annoying and may even cause you to lose your job at one point in time.
Whether carpools are reasonable or not also depends on the people you take with you. For instance, say you do not like your colleagues at work at all. If this is the case, you might also refrain from carpooling with them since you simply do not want to see them in the early morning.
Reduction in smog
Mitigation of air pollution
Less greenhouse gas emissions
Less particle pollution
Carpooling can save you money
Making new friends
Good opportunity for people who can't drive
Reduction in noise pollution
Less traffic jams
Reduction in flexibility
Higher level of responsibility
Easy spread of diseases
People may quit
Not suitable for certain remote areas
Unreliability might become a problem
Not entirely eco-friendly
You might not like your carpool fellows
Carpooling has several advantages and can be a great way to protect our environment and to save money at the same time.
However, there are also some problems related to the use of carpools. You have to decide by yourself if you want to engage in carpooling.
Make sure to evaluate all the pros and cons in order to make a profound decision whether you want to use carpools or not.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.
As I went to university and got my Master's degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.
After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.
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