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Open AccessArticle

Estimating the Energy Consumption Impact of Casual Carpooling

Co-Founder and Managing Director, Trip Convergence Ltd /17/130 Great South Road, Epsom, Auckland 1051, New Zealand
Co-Founder and Director, Trip Convergence Ltd / 276A Victoria Street, Remuera, Auckland 1050, New Zealand
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Energies 2011, 4(1), 126-139;
Received: 8 December 2010 / Revised: 9 January 2011 / Accepted: 10 January 2011 / Published: 14 January 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy-Friendly Transportation)
PDF [334 KB, uploaded 17 March 2015]


Some of the transportation energy consumed during peak commuter periods is wasted through slow running in congested traffic. Strategies to increase average vehicle occupancy (and reduce vehicle counts and congestion) could be expected to be at the forefront of energy conservation policies. Casual carpooling (also called “slugging”) is a system of carpooling without trip-by-trip pre-arrangement. It operates in three US cities, and has been suggested in New Zealand as a strategy for managing transportation challenges when oil prices rise. The objective of the paper is to find out if casual carpooling reduces energy consumption, and if so, how much. Energy consumption by single occupant vehicles; casual carpool vehicles; and a mix of buses and single occupant vehicles; are estimated and compared, and the impact on the rest of the traffic is calculated. The paper estimates that casual carpooling in San Francisco is conserving in the order of 1.7 to 3.5 million liters of gasoline per year, or 200-400 liters for each participant, much of which comes from the impact on the rest of the traffic. The paper concludes by calling for applied research to discover how to catalyze casual carpooling in other cities as a means of reducing transportation energy consumption. View Full-Text
Keywords: carpooling; casual carpooling; express carpooling; sustainable transport; transport demand management carpooling; casual carpooling; express carpooling; sustainable transport; transport demand management

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Minett, P.; Pearce, J. Estimating the Energy Consumption Impact of Casual Carpooling. Energies 2011, 4, 126-139.

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