Reduce Transportation Costs

If your daily commute is putting a dent in your wallet, it may be time to find a more economical means of getting from place to place. Small changes like keeping your vehicle tuned up and watching your speed can often be enough to leave you with more money in your pocket at the end of each week. To save a more serious chunk of change, you might even consider switching to a less costly form of transportation, like a bike or bus. If you're organizing the transport of goods for your business, try implementing cost-effective measures like loading your freight more efficiently and shipping on off-peak days. You may not notice a significant difference right away, but those savings are sure to add up in no time.


Cutting Down on Personal Vehicle Costs

  1. Downsize to a more fuel efficient vehicle. Trade in your truck, SUV, or sporty show car for a more sensible model. One of the biggest benefits of compact cars is that they typically enjoy far better mileage than oversized gas-guzzlers. What you sacrifice in flash or legroom, you’ll make up for on your monthly fuel expenditure.[1]
    • Restricting your search to slightly used cars (less than about five years old) can help you save hundreds more on your initial purchase while ensuring that you get a vehicle that runs the way it’s supposed to.[2]
    • Hybrid vehicle types are by far the cheapest to refill. However, their steep price tags may cancel out their exception fuel-efficiency for some.
  2. Keep your vehicle in good working order. Bring your car in for a tune-up every 30,000-50,000 miles, and make sure you’re up to date on oil changes, tire rotations, and other important routine maintenance. Regular inspections will help you identify potential issues before they degenerate into a more expensive problem.[3]
    • Shelling out for a new set of windshield wipers, for instance, doesn’t compare to the price you’d pay for repairs after running off an embankment due to poor visibility.
    • Keeping your tires properly inflated alone can improve your vehicle’s fuel economy by up to 3%.[4]
  3. Plan your trips more efficiently. Before hitting the road, take a few extra minutes to figure out how to get where you’re going in the least amount of time. As much as possible, avoid construction zones and areas where traffic tends to get congested during prime commuting hours. The longer you’re behind the wheel, the more fuel you’ll burn, and the more wear your car will collect.[5]
    • Depending on where you live, streamlining your navigation could mean taking a straight shot down the highway or interstate, or it could mean familiarizing yourself with seldom-used back roads.
    • Use your smartphone’s GPS anytime you’re driving somewhere new. Most satellite GPS systems are programmed to automatically select the most direct known course.
  4. Resist the urge to speed. Make a conscious effort to abide by the posted speed limit on whatever roadway you happen to be traveling. Going faster may seem like a good idea if your goal is to spend less time on the road, but it takes a lot more fuel to floor it than it does to cruise along at a responsible speed. Relax, pace yourself, and enjoy the ride.[6]
    • Driving too fast also puts you at risk of getting slapped with a ticket, which will just drain your bank account even more.
  5. Shop around for the cheapest gas prices. Don’t just fill up at the same place you always go when your tank hits ‘E’—explore your options. Constantly be on the lookout for lower prices at other gas stations in your neighborhood and surrounding area. A difference of a few cents per gallon might not seem like much, but it can make a serious impact at the end of the month.[7]
    • Once you’re at the pump, choose the lowest grade of gasoline safe to use in your vehicle to reduce your spending even more.

Finding Alternative Methods of Transportation

  1. Organize a carpool. Talk to your friends, classmates, or coworkers and see who among them is interested in participating in a rideshare arrangement. Each of you can then take turns driving the rest of the group to the places you all need to be. With a large enough carpool, you might make the same drive a fraction of the number of times you would in an ordinary week.[8]
    • Carpools work best when everyone involved lives and goes to work, school, or practice within a short distance of one another.
    • Take advantage of the slightly longer commute time by getting some unfinished work done or catching up on your reading.
  2. Make use of public transportation. Leave your car in the garage and hop on the bus or subway instead. Not only will one of these methods of mass transit get you where you’re going faster since they stick to more direct routes, they usually only cost a few dollars per trip. As such, they can be a major time and money saver if most of your business is confined to the downtown area.[9]
    • The average price of bus fare in most cities is around $2.50.[10]
    • If you have a lot of stops to make throughout the day, an all-day pass will only run you a couple dollars more than standard fare.
  3. Save up for a scooter. Motorized scooters are useful for covering distances that are too far to walk but not long enough to warrant taking a car or bus. Many gas-powered scooters get up to 100 miles per gallon, making them one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the road if you’re not in a huge hurry. What’s more, you’re practically guaranteed to find parking wherever you go, since they take up so little space.[11]
    • It only costs about $10 to top off a gas-powered scooter, which is roughly a quarter as much as the average car or truck.[12]
    • Ride responsibly—always wear a helmet and keep an eye out for other motorists.
  4. Buy a bike. Cycling is slightly more expensive than walking, but still nowhere near as costly as maintaining a vehicle or booking an Uber every day. Going from four wheels to two is especially practical if you live in a big city, with paved bike lanes and a convenient, sensible street layout.[13]
    • You can bring home a roadworthy bicycle that will carry you for thousands of miles for less than it costs to repair a busted transmission.[14]
  5. Walk whenever you can. Your own two legs are the most reliable form of transportation you have. Consider going on foot whenever you’re headed someplace nearby, like the corner store or campus library. It may be slower compared to driving or taking the bus, but it costs you nothing, and it’s great exercise, to boot.[15]
    • Walking gives you the freedom to go more places than you could in an automobile, as it permits you to take shortcuts and plod along without having to worry about traffic jams or road closures.
    • Longer treks will be more time-consuming, so be sure to plot out your path in advance and allow yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.
  6. Ask someone you know for a lift. Call up a friend or loved one who has their own vehicle and see if they’d be willing to play chauffeur. Chances are, you’ll be able to find someone to come through in a pinch. Offer to return the favor in the future or pay them back by buying them a cup of coffee.[16]
    • A lengthy car ride can present a great opportunity for you to catch up on what’s been going on in each other’s lives.
    • Don’t rely on the people you know to cart you around. It’s one thing to bum a ride from a friend every now and then, but if you do it too often, they may come to see you as a burden.

Reducing Costs for Business Transport

  1. Start with a detailed cost analysis. Perform a point-by-point breakdown of the expenses associated with each of your main areas of operation. Factor in everything from specific shipping routes to employee labor and the price of individual pallets and other materials. You’ll then have a better idea of exactly how much a project should cost, allowing you to cut down on wasted resources.[17]
    • Once you’ve got everything itemized by cost, look for places where you might be able to “trim the fat.” For example, you might be able to cut standby labor or change regional carriers for a smaller shipment.
    • If you discover that your projected and final costs differ dramatically, it may mean you need to take a second look at how your operations are being carried out.
  2. Organize your freight more efficiently. Start loading shipments in a way that makes better use of your available space. This could mean choosing more space-effective containers and packing materials, or simply taking the time to make sure everything is properly sorted and consolidated. As a result, you’ll eliminate the kind of excess that leads to unforeseen expenses.[18]
    • Minimizing unnecessary space will also help ensure that nothing gets moves around or becomes damaged en route due.
    • Your company stands to save up to $150 per pallet space by loading your freight a little more carefully.[19]
  3. Ship on off-peak days. Consider sending your goods out a day earlier or later than you ordinarily would. Not only will this bring the cost of shipping down, it will also make you more likely to find an available carrier to move your freight for you. You’ll be taking a little bit of a risk making sure your arrive on time, but as long as nothing goes wrong, that risk can pay off in more ways than one.[20]
    • Peak shipping days differ depending on the industry, but they tend to be fairly consistent between competitors.
    • Most consumer goods manufacturers try to get their shipments out by Thursday so that they can be stocked and ready to sell by the weekend. By waiting until Friday, you can reap the benefits of lower rates and guarantee that you’ll have a carrier lined up.[21]
  4. Move more goods at a time. Reach out to your buyers and retailers and see if they’d be willing to accept larger, less frequent shipments. That way, it won’t be necessary to plans and organize transport and hire carriers as often. You’ll be able to devote the time you save to putting together larger, more complex orders for newer clients.[22]
    • Due to storage limitations, most retailers prefer to deal in smaller shipments. It may help to incentivize your buyers by offering them a percentage of the money you save on shipping.[23]
  5. Carry safety stock. Storing extra merchandise in your warehouse may seem counterintuitive, but it makes sense when you consider the potential pitfalls you’ll be sidestepping. For instance, you might save time trying to decide how to distribute limited quantities of goods among your retailers, which will help you avoid noncompliance fees for overdue orders.[24]
    • Padding your storerooms with a little safety stock can strengthen the relationship between you and your buyers and keep profitable orders pouring in.


  • Keep track of your transportation expenses before and after you make a change to find out exactly how much you’re saving.
  • Avoid toll roads, pay parking lots and garages, and other places that force you to fork over more of your hard-earned money.
  • Learning to perform minor repairs on your own can keep you from having to take your vehicle to the garage as often.