Save money by going green with the 'SmartCommute Challenge'

Posted May 20, 2009 4:45 p.m. EDT

— The SmartCommute Challenge is one way to save money while reducing unhealthy air pollution and greenhouse gases.

The annual non-profit public service campaign is aimed at reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality in the Triangle. It encourages commuters and college students who work or attend classes in Durham, Orange or Wake counties to make a promise to ride the bus, carpool, vanpool, telework, bike or walk at least once between now and May 30.

“While gas prices are considerably lower than they were one year ago, many commuters are still affected by the economy,” said David King, general manager of Triangle Transit, a GoTriangle partner and presenting sponsor of the SmartCommute Challenge. “Through campaigns like the SmartCommute Challenge, we are giving Triangle commuters options that are environmentally-friendly and ultimately, save them money on gas, car insurance, repairs and maintenance.”

According to study released this month by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), individuals who use public transportation can save up to $8,600 annually or $720 each month, based on average gas prices and the monthly parking rate for unreserved spaces.

Using alternative transportation also saves the approximately 1 pound of carbon produced by every one mile a person drives.

The goal of this year’s SmartCommute Challenge is to reduce 2.2 million pounds of carbon during the six-week campaign.