Nova Scotia

Carpooling takes on greater appeal for commuters as gas prices soar

With gas prices hovering around record highs, some Nova Scotians are looking to cut down on the cost of their commutes by sharing rides.

Some Nova Scotians are sharing rides to save money

Gas prices have been hitting record highs over the past two weeks. (CBC)

With gas prices hovering around record highs, some Nova Scotians are looking to cut down on the cost of their commutes by sharing rides.

Abby Jollymore said she always valued the alone time she got on the 60-kilometre drive between her home in Milford, N.S., and her work in north-end Dartmouth, N.S. But the recent surge in gas prices, prompted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, has made that drive significantly more expensive.

"It definitely takes away from what we're able to do outside of, you know, driving to and from work," she said.

She said she gladly gave up the solo commute last week to save money. Jollymore connected with two other people who also live outside the city and work in Dartmouth, and the three started carpooling on Monday.

They meet at Jollymore's house each morning and alternate which car they take into work. Everyone gets dropped off at their own workplace and picked up at the end of the day.

'I don't know if I really would go back'

Gas prices in Nova Scotia hit their peak on March 8 when the minimum price for regular gasoline ranged between $1.86 and $1.88 per litre.

Two price drops brought the price down to between $1.72 and $1.74 by Saturday, but Jollymore said that's not enough of a change to make her want to cancel her carpooling arrangement.

"I don't mind it too much, now. I don't know if I really would go back, even if gas prices go back down, it's still quite a bit of money I could save on the side," Jollymore said.

Nova Scotia's gas regulator has invoked the interrupter clause four times this month to respond to rapidly changing global fuel prices. (Robert Short/CBC)

"I don't think grocery prices are going to go down anytime soon so it's more money to help toward other expenses that are going up."

Katy Strickland echoed the concern about the rising cost of living. That's why she's looking to find a carpooling buddy.

Strickland has to drive more than 100 kilometres round-trip every workday between her home in Elmsdale, N.S., and her job in downtown Halifax.

She's been making the commute for six years and was used to budgeting a few hundred dollars a month for gas and bridge tolls. 

"In the past two weeks, that's now increased to a lot more," Strickland said.

Some Nova Scotians are feeling the pinch of higher gas prices. (Robert Short/CBC)

The cost of filling her gas tank is now pushing Strickland to her financial limits, she said.

Strickland hasn't found anyone to share a ride with yet.

She's one of the administrators of a Facebook group started this month to help people living in the rural county of East Hants arrange carpools for commutes to Halifax and Truro, N.S.

In just a week, more than 200 people joined.

"It's been good for a few people. They've been able to make arrangements," Strickland said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Taryn Grant

Reporter

Taryn Grant is a Halifax-based reporter and web writer for CBC Nova Scotia. You can email her with tips and feedback at taryn.grant@cbc.ca

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