Saving Money on My Commute

Photo by drouu /

Every day, I drive an extra 10 miles out of my way to and from work. Yet, I save money and time. How is that possible?

First off, the highways in North Jersey are highly congested messes during “rush hour,” which really lasts from 6:30 am to 10 am, especially when you’re going toward New York City like I am (I work right across the Hudson River in NJ). I get off the last exit before one of the NYC crossings.

So I save time by choosing which of the 3-4 highways I can take. Through trial and error, I figured out the route that would take the shortest amount of time. That means I drive 5 miles out of my way in each direction, but I’m saving 10-15 minutes on my commute.

The other reason I take the route that’s 10 miles longer, round-trip? TO AVOID TOLLS. I hate paying tolls, and two of the highways I can choose to use for my commute cost $1.00 in tolls in each direction, for $2.00 total round-trip.

Gas prices in my area are creeping upward again, but it still costs less to drive a bit out of my way and use the extra gasoline rather than pay the tolls.


Currently, gas is in my area costs about $2.75 per gallon. My car gets 25 miles per gallon on the highway (not great, but not terrible for an older vehicle with a V6 engine). My commute is 95% highway, so I’m going to use that as my benchmark.

$2.75 divided by 25 = 11 cents

So it costs me 11 cents per mile to drive to work. That means the extra 10 miles round-trip cost $1.10 in gas, while the tolls would cost $2.00. This equals a savings of 90 cents per day, or approximately $215 a year.

I’m saving both TIME and MONEY — it’s a win-win situation.

It’s the little things that help you save money in the long run! If you keep finding ways to watch your spending, you’ll find that the savings really add up.

12 comments to Saving Money on My Commute

  • That’s kind of sad that in some ways tolls have produced a way for people to use more gasoline by avoiding them and cause more harm to the environment :)…. As for the time saving, that is awesome to work that out and prob best to keep that secret to yourself :).

    In England people go to great lengths to plan long journeys that don’t hit the tolls when driving up and down the country… I wonder if the extra environmental impact caused will cost more to fix than what they collect from tolls!! Who knows, just you got me thinking of other angles!

  • Lol, I went to work today and as I was driving, I got stuck behind a school bus. The route was usually a quick one but if I go the wrong time of day, it’s horrible slow…

    Good move with the tolls 🙂

  • Smart thinking! I don’t think about toll roads much, there just aren’t many out here in the west. However, when I do visit the East Coast, they always surprise me. (I never carry cash…I’d constantly be holding up traffic scrounging through my purse for change!)

  • Not only are you saving some money on your trips, you are saving TIME. So you are saving 20-30 minutes a day round trip on your commute. That is worth a lot too. Not to mention having less stress on your commute, it is good all around to drive that extra few miles (except maybe for the wear-and-tear on your car).

  • North Jersey traffic is not fun! I used to work in Weehawken and the traffic by the tunnel would be an absolute parking lot. these days I go against the traffic and I’ve found a route that takes me through 12 miles of backroads. Way less stressful than highway driving!

    • Nicole

      I work up by the GWB, and the area also becomes a total parking lot. Glad you found a way to avoid highway traffic.

  • It is amazing how a little bit of daily savings can add up. It is not like these 90 cents per day will make you rich, but a few of these little savings do add up to some real money.

    • Nicole

      Exactly. Cut out tolls, find cheaper gas prices, skip your morning Starbucks run — in the long run, it’s a lot of money you’ll be saving.

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