General Lab Information

Ridesharing Benefits

There are many benefits to ridesharing, some more obvious than others. If you're not sure if ridesharing is for you, consider the following.

Ridesharing can save you money!

Simply put, when you carpool, you will drive less and save money. These savings come from reduced maintenance costs (e.g., less frequent oil and air filter changes), savings on gasoline, and some insurance companies offer carpoolers reduced auto insurance rates.

The American Automobile Association estimates in their “Your Driving Costs” 2021 brochure (PDF), that it costs the average driver of a 2021 model year midsize sedan who drives 15,000 miles per year, 62.44 cents a mile for maintenance, insurance, license, registration, depreciation, finance charges and taxes. This estimate is based on fuel costs of $2.362 per gallon. Let's assume Heather and Emily who own a 2021 Chevy Malibu and 2021 Nissan Altima respectively decide to carpool five days a week for their 50-mile round trip commute to the Laboratory and split the driving. In this scenario, if they carpool 220 days each would save more than $1500 in commuting costs over the course of a year.

Ridesharing can help to improve air quality

Automobiles and light trucks are considered the largest contributors to air quality problems in the U S. According to 2019 EPA estimates, highway vehicle which include passenger cars and light trucks accounted for 9 percent of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, 27 percent of the nation's carbon monoxide (CO) emissions, 32 percent of the total nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and 17 percent of nationwide greenhouse gas emissions.

Ground level ozone is produced when hydrocarbons react with nitrogen oxides in the presences of sunlight under sustained elevated temperatures. Ground level ozone, a major component of photochemical smog, contributes to respiratory problems such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. Sustained exposure to high ozone levels can lead to permanent lung damage. Young children, the elderly, and people with pre-existing respiratory ailments are most susceptible to respiratory affects from exposure to ozone.

Oxides of nitrogen also contribute to the formation of acid rain. Acid rain is a broad term referring to the deposited materials from the atmosphere containing higher than normal amounts of nitric and sulfuric acids. It occurs when NOx and sulfur dioxide react with water and oxygen in the atmosphere to form various acidic compounds. Lakes and streams become acidic when the water itself and its surrounding soil cannot buffer the acid rain sufficiently to neutralize the acids. When the buffering capacity of soils is reduced, acid rain causes aluminum in the soil to be released into streams and lakes. Aluminum is highly toxic to many species of aquatic organisms including trout, bass, snails, clams and crayfish.

Exposure to elevated atmospheric concentration of carbon monoxide can be particularly dangerous to people with heart disease as it can reduce the flow of oxygen into the bloodstream.

Scientists now believe that greenhouse gas emissions from man-made sources contribute to the climatic phenomena referred to as climate change or global warming. Greenhouse gases are defined as any gas that absorbs infrared radiation in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), halogenated fluorocarbons (HCFCs), ozone (O3), perfluorinated carbons (PFCs), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

Ridesharing helps to reduce the number of vehicles on the road, which in turn reduces vehicular air pollution. The table below shows the emissions produced by the average properly maintained passenger car and light truck on the road in 2021 based published data from the US DOT Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Annual Emissions for the 'Average' Gasoline-Powered Passenger car and Light Truck in 2021

Pollutant Emission Factor (grams/mile) Annual Emissions (lbs) *
Passenger Car Hydrocarbons 0.26 7
Carbon Monoxide 3.96 105
Nitrogen Oxides 0.017 6
Light Truck** Hydrocarbons 0.32 8
Carbon Monoxide 5.05 134
Nitrogen Oxides 0.33 9
* Emissions estimates presume average annual mileage of 12,000.
*** Light trucks include pickups, vans, minivans, and sports-utility vehicles.

Ridesharing conserves non-renewable energy resources

According to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates for 2020, 66 percent of the petroleum used in the US was used by the transportation sector and roughly forty-four percent was consumed by passenger cars and light trucks. In 2020, 43 percent of the petroleum used in the US was imported, down from 66 percent in 2015.

With more higher mileage models available in the market, Americans have been purchasing more fuel-efficient vehicles over the last several years, as the average fuel economy of new passenger cars has increased from 29.9 miles per gallon in 2010 to 35.6 miles per gallon in 2020, while over the same period the average fuel economy of new light duty trucks increased from 21.7 to 25.5 miles per gallon.

Ridesharing might save you some time

If you have a long commute, say from Nassau County or Queens, you may find yourself frequently fighting heavy traffic on the LIE. If you rideshare, you can use the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane on the expressway.