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Environmental and Cost Benefits of Telecommuting to Work

written by: •edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 7/26/2010

Telecommuting has numerous advantages, both economic and environmental. While some of these advantages can be tough to quantify, it only takes a little number crunching to come up with some figures on how much can be saved simply by eliminating that daily drive to work.

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    Telecommuting Benefits

    Recognizing that energy conservation comes with an added economic advantage is certainly not some revolutionary breakthrough. In fact, cutting back on fuel consumption is one of the few ways in which an immediate effect can be felt on the wallet. The only real disadvantage to energy conservation is the inconvenience, whether real or perceived, that it causes.

    While telecommuting may not have always been a viable option to consider in the past, more and more companies are opening their eyes to the possibility of letting employees work from home. If the primary duties associated with your job are working on the computer, there’s no reason you can’t do that from any location, including your own home office. This type of arrangement can introduce many forms of savings, both for the company and the telecommuter, but we’re going to focus on a particular one today to show how powerful a punch it can have.

    The idea that you can save money by not driving to work has always been a strong point when discussing telecommuting advantages. But just how much money can be saved? The numbers are really based on three major things: how many miles a day you’re cutting out off your travels, the price of gas, and the type of mileage your car is capable of achieving.

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    How Cutting Gas Consumption Adds Up

    Let’s look at an average example. First, we’ll need to make a few assumptions.

    • The average driving distance to work varies from location to location, but we’ll use a conservative estimate of a 20-mile distance from home to work, or a 40-mile roundtrip each day.
    • The price of gas is all over the place right now, and it's also subject to geography. For these calculations, we’ll assume an average price of $4 per gallon. You can adjust this based on the current prices in your area. If you live in the United States, the Energy Information Association keeps an updated table of current gas prices that you can check for your area.
    • We’ll use a conservative estimate for the gas mileage of a vehicle, and assume your car gets 25 miles to the gallon. You may get more if you own a clean deisel car or hybrid, but this a reasonable amount for an average car.

    Now, let’s do the math. At $4 per gallon of gas, if your vehicle gets 25 miles per gallon, that means it costs $0.16 in gas money just to drive one mile. So, cutting that 40-mile roundtrip drive to work each day is saving $6.40. If you normally work five days a week for 50 weeks a year, that adds up to $32 a week or $1600 a year. That savings is for fuel costs alone and doesn’t even take into account the money you’ll save from lessening the wear and tear on your vehicle.

    Not only does cutting out that daily drive add up to a nice chunk of change, it’s also conserving 400 gallons of gasoline each year. That’s not bad at all for expending no effort other than convincing your boss why you should be allowed to work from home.