You may well be full of good intentions this New Year, having resolved to either spend less or reduce your carbon footprint. But where do you start? Thankfully, there is an alternative way to save without ditching your beloved motor. Give your wallet its very own MOT by car sharing. You might be doing this already, by giving friends a lift to the pub or taking your neighbour's kids on the school run. But if you want to save serious pounds, commuting to work with just one other can save on average £1,000 a year. What's more, if you have more people in the car, the amount you save will increase! And just think, with the money saved and the best deal in car loans, you could even look to buy a new, environmentally friendly motor! When petrol prices reached an all time peak last summer, car sharing became a more attractive, viable option. In fact, a survey conducted by The AA alongside YouGov in September, found almost half the population (47%) were considering it. Now, the government is giving their full support to car sharing schemes and has even set up a charity to help. A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: "Car sharing has an important role to play in reducing congestion and carbon emissions as well as in saving people money when they travel. So if you're keen to join the ranks of car sharers, how can you go about it? The first thing to do is look at car sharing websites. When people initially think about car sharing, they might be concerned if they only want to do it a couple of days a week. But car sharing is extremely flexible; once you've found someone, you can share as often as you like just by arranging with your sharer in advance.

Happy marriage

Car sharing couldn't be simpler. You just log on, state your journey - for example Swindon to Reading - and then do a search to see which other members are wanting to go the same way. We tend to find that, once you start car sharing, you quickly find yourself doing it all the time. We've had some lovely feedback from members, including one who recently asked the car sharer she met to be her bridesmaid!

Hassle free

Some people might be concerned about the safety of getting into a car with a stranger. Usually, when people are sharing lifts and it's on a regular basis, they tend to be in the same locality so they may know people in common. Obviously if someone is offering a cross-country lift, it might be from someone way out of their area. People are advised to check the person is who they say they are, to tell people who they're going to meet, when and where and what the registration of the vehicle is. Even if you're travelling with them regularly, do this until you're happy with the arrangement. In addition, there are a number of precautions you can take including asking for a copy of the person's car insurance certificate. £1000 annual saving calculated thus:
  • The average commuter has 7,313 miles of journey registered per year that they would like to share (usually the total annual mileage of their daily commute).
  • The average fuel cost is currently around 14p a mile.
  • The average total cost per mile is around 28p per mile (inc wear & tear, depreciation, etc).
If two individuals drive their own cars 7,313 miles, they will spend a total of £2,048 on fuel (2 x 7,313 x 14p). Their total travel costs would be £4,096 (2 x 7,313 x 28p). If those two individuals shared one car with each other they would save £1,024 on fuel and their total travel costs would be £2,048. By sharing a car, the fuel costs are reduced by £1,024 and the total costs reduced by £2,048. Which equals £1,024 each.