Environmental Protection

Bay Area District Encourages Carpooling

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) announced on July 7 the launch of a new effort for the Spare the Air campaign encouraging the public to carpool or rideshare to reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles on highways.

Transportation is the largest source of smog pollution in the Bay Area and the region's highway congestion is the second worst in the nation.

"We need to reduce the amount of single occupancy vehicles if we are going to make a dent in improving air pollution," said Lisa Fasano, BAAQMD communications director. "Any ride is worth sharing—even once a week would dramatically reduce the number of cars on the road, reduce time spent commuting, reduce money spent on gas, and reduce bad air in our lungs."

Every day, Bay Area commuters drive alone on more than 3.5 million trips to and from work. Ridesharing can dramatically reduce the number of single occupancy vehicle trips and improve air quality. Spare the Air encourages every person to do their part to maintain healthy air in the Bay Area by sharing a ride instead of commuting alone.

With ride sharing, less is more:

  • More cars in the HOV lane: During peak commuting hours, only 17 percent of vehicles on Bay Area roads are able to travel in the HOV lanes. The campaign aims to increase the use of HOV lanes.
  • More time saved in your commute: On the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza alone, using the HOV lane saves each vehicle an average of 20 minutes. Carpoolers can save anywhere from 5-20 minutes by carpooling across other Bay Area bridges.
  • More savings on gas money: Given a 30-mile roundtrip commute, the average commuter will save about $222 a month, or $2,663 annually (Based on a car that achieves 20 mpg, at $3 per gallon).
  • More time for yourself: Carpool riders gain time back by being able to read the paper, check email on their handheld device, or simply relax on their commute to work.
  • Healthier air: During the summer months, ground-level ozone is the pollutant of concern that creates smog. Because cars and trucks are the largest source of smog pollution in the Bay Area, reducing the number of single occupancy vehicles is healthier for us all.

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