If you’re interested in saving on fuel costs, you have a lot of vehicle options from which to choose. Hybrid-electric, flex fuel, ultra-compact vehicles and even motorcycles can lower your fuel consumption and save you money. But there’s another green vehicle option you may have overlooked: the mini-van. If used the right way, the mini-van is a fuel-saving machine; here are a few simple ways a standard mini-van can reduce your fuel costs.
Carpooling – The most effective way to reduce fuel consumption isn’t to improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency; it’s to drive less frequently. The mini-van’s advantage over other vehicle classes is capacity. Most mini-vans can hold approximately seven adults, which makes them ideal for carpooling. If you own a mini-van, consider organizing a carpool at your workplace. For every person who joins the carpool, another car is no longer burning fuel to and from work. A full, seven passenger mini-van carpool uses about 85% less fuel than if every passenger drove alone.
Kid-pooling – A mini-van is the family vehicle of choice if you have kids. For events like sports games, school functions or birthday parties, try to organize a carpool among parents. You can trade off for events, or work out a system where each parent contributes a small amount of money to pay for fuel. This is a great way to reduce fuel consumption while allowing your kids to be active and socialize.
Moving and hauling – Mini-vans don’t just carry more people; they carry more everything. If you frequently move large amounts of cargo or equipment, a mini-van can reduce the number of trips you’ll have to make. Just be aware—once your friends know that you have a mini-van, you’ll be asked to lend your vehicle to help them move.
A mini-van won’t be the greenest vehicle choice for everyone, so evaluate your vehicle needs to determine how to reduce your personal fuel costs. If you live and work in the city, a small scooter, motorcycle or even public transportation may be a better option. And if you don’t live near coworkers, a small hybrid vehicle could be the most effective way to reduce fuel consumption.
Whether you’re interested in organizing a mini-van carpool at work, or buying a Vespa for the city, a new auto loan or used car loan may be the best financing options for your budget. And if you already own a green vehicle, but are looking for other ways to reduce your monthly vehicle budget, consider auto refinance loans as a way to possibly reduce your monthly payments.