This Earth Day, Try Driving Less

Earth Day is pretty important to us at Metromile. It might sound contradictory since we work in the car industry, but we pride ourselves on incentivizing customers to drive less since they pay based on the miles they drive. Earth Day is actually a worldwide celebration — it began in 1970 and continues to be recognized in 193 countries. In the spirit of the holiday, here are tips on how to drive less and cut down on your vehicle’s carbon emissions.

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Bike to work. The majority of Americans live close to their workplace. So instead of grabbing your keys to start your car in the morning, grab your helmet and start biking. Even biking one day a week can make a big impact. Check out our tips on how to enjoy your bike commute.

Walk more. Get a kickstart to your day by walking to work. You’ll get a bunch of steps in before breakfast and heat up the competition in your step challenge group.

Organize a carpool. Find a friend who lives and works close to you, and take turns driving each other to work. If no one comes to mind, here are some ideas on how to find someone to carpool with. An added bonus is that you can drive in the carpool lane all the way to work!

Or let someone arrange a pool for you. Try UberPOOL or Lyft Line, where you share a ride with other passengers on your way to your destination. This also costs significantly less than a normal Uber ride.

Invest in a hybrid car. They give off fewer carbon emissions and get better gas mileage which is definitely a win for our wildlife (and your wallet).

If these tips work for you and you find yourself driving less, pay-per-mile insurance could be a great fit for you! To learn more, or to see how much you could save, just click here.

Easy Ways to Find a Work Carpool

Did you know that a solo drive to work costs an average of $5,000 a year and that many people spend 250 hours alone in a car? If this applies to you, carpooling can be a great way to save thousands on tolls and gas. It also can give you valuable time back to be productive (checking emails, reading the news) when you’re in the passenger seat. The hassle of finding someone who has a similar route and schedule as you might seem daunting, so we’ve got the low-down on simplifying your carpool strategy.

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Looking for someone to carpool with? Try one of these apps that match you to a driver or rider with a similar route.

Scoop allows you to schedule morning and afternoon commutes either independently or together. Based on your route, schedule and traffic, trips are custom tailored for you and the drivers. If you choose to drive a carpool, that’s more cash in your pocket. Scoop even guarantees you a ride home, so you’ll never have to worry about being stuck at work.

Hitch A Ride helps you connect with colleagues to see who lives nearby – and opens the floor to discuss carpool destinations. Payment terms are negotiated between you and the driver- meaning you can either pay a flat rate or pick up a bagel for them in the morning. You can even connect with your social networks to see where your friends are travelling – and hop in for the ride!

UberPOOL matches riders heading in the same direction, and the trip costs up to 50% less than UberX. If you find yourself frequently hopping in a rideshare to save time on your commute, this is a great alternative. It only adds a few minutes to your ride, and you could meet a new friend.

Riding with a friend or coworker? Follow these tips to make sure it’s a smooth ride:

  • Discuss the pickup point. Is the driver picking everyone up at home? Are you meeting at a convenient location for everyone?
  • If everyone is going to take turns driving, create a schedule that you all agree on. Be flexible if there is a day when someone needs to switch drivers.
  • Decide on payment terms based on mileage and fuel cost. If everyone is taking turns driving equally, you may not need to exchange cash.
  • Make some ground rules and be respectful of them. How long will the driver wait if someone is late? When will you exchange payment? Is talking on cell phones OK?

Need a way to fill the silence? Check out our list of commute-friendly podcasts!

If you are participating in a carpool you’ll likely be driving your car less frequently, so you could really save a lot of money with pay-per-mile car insurance. Learn more and get your free quote here.

The OBD-II: What’s it Doing for You?

Ever notice your mechanic plugging into that little port under your car’s dashboard? That port is part of the on-board diagnostic (OBD) system, and it is playing a major role in minimizing pollution caused by cars. Devices plugged into the OBD port are also providing important insights and optimizing the driving experience. If you missed our first blog about the history of the OBD port, here’s a quick rundown of why it exists and all of the innovative ways it is being used today.

The OBD system was first introduced in the 60’s as a way to measure a vehicle’s emissions. Decades later, a more robust version known as the OBD-II was introduced, also able to monitor parts of the chassis and body. In 1996, amendments to the Clean Air Act required the OBD-II to be built into all light-duty vehicles (aka all cars available to consumers) as part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempts to reduce toxic emissions. If something in your engine malfunctions, your car might run just fine, but you could ultimately face expensive repair costs or unknowingly release toxins into the air like Benzene and Formaldehyde (potential human carcinogens). Because of this regulation, all cars will display a “check engine light” when something is wrong, and mechanics can plug into the OBD-II port to diagnose the problem. So just how bad could things get if we didn’t regulate emissions and monitor engine health? The photo below is not from a horror movie – it’s of LA in the 90’s before OBD ports were standard in all cars and it was hard to detect if an engine was dangerously inefficient.

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Fast forward 20 years and the OBD system is proving to be an important factor in reducing the damaging effects of car emissions on our environment. Since the introduction of the Clean Air Act and the OBD requirement, toxic emissions have steadily decreased. Companies are also developing devices to use in tandem with the OBD-II port in all sorts of new and inventive ways. For example, our per-mile insurance customers plug the Metromile Pulse device into the OBD-II port to measure exact mileage. This enables us to provide low-mileage drivers with a more fair insurance pricing model, since their monthly bill is based on the miles they drive, not just on a rough estimate (which other insurance companies sometimes offer a small discount for). (more…)

Go on a Low Carbon Diet by Driving Less

 

California governor Jerry Brown recently ordered the most aggressive carbon emission cut goal in the US. He is aiming to cut carbon emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, matching a target set by the EU. This should have a significant impact on the US’s overarching goal, which is to reduce emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025. Some higher level initiatives include deriving electricity from renewable sources and reducing petroleum usage in cars and trucks, but there is plenty you can personally do to make a difference, California resident or not. So what does a “low carbon diet” entail?

Reduce Carbon Emissions

More biking and public transit: Warmer weather is here, so ride your bike or walk in order to avoid carbon emissions completely. Carpooling and public transportation also drastically reduces your carbon footprint by spreading fuel usage across multiple riders. If you are a pay-per-mile insurance customer with Metromile, this will also save you tons of money!

Smarter driving: There are times when biking won’t cut it, like when you go on a weekend road trip or a big grocery run. Luckily there are a few hacks that will reduce your carbon footprint when you do have to drive. Keep a light foot on the gas pedal. Speeding wastes gas and money, and also increases your carbon footprint. In fact, take your foot off the pedal completely. Cruise control also helps reduce CO2 emissions while driving and makes the trip a little more enjoyable.

Less baggage: The heavier your car, the more fuel you burn and CO2 you emit. This is why we like to follow the “less is more” rule of thumb when packing. If you do need to carry bikes or snow gear, get a hitch mounted rack. Car top carriers not only cost more, but also increase aerodynamic drag and decrease fuel economy.

Optimized routes: Being stuck in traffic wastes gas and creates unnecessary CO2. It also likely doesn’t fit into your busy schedule. Check out our recent blog post about how to beat traffic. And when you are out and about, combine errands to reduce the number of trips you make.

A great side effect of the low carbon diet is saving money. With Metromile’s affordable car insurance, you only get charged for the miles you drive. The bottom line? Drive less and you can save money (and the environment). If you aren’t already a customer learn how much you could save!