The Shop Small movement promotes the importance of spending and keeping money in our communities by patronizing our small, locally owned businesses. But anyone who has been a mall parking lot full of cars, or creeping traffic on a rush-hour journey home, has seen another area where our local economies are bleeding money. Along with trying to #shopsmall this holiday season, consider trying to #drivesmall as well.
About 90% of what we spend on every gallon of gas leaves our local economies. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, here’s how it breaks down:
That 20% that hangs around in taxes? About half of that goes to the federal gas tax, so really only a little over 10% stays around in the form of state and local taxes. Fully 81% of what you spend on a gallon of gas leaves not only the local economy, but Virginia in some way. Even more, that 47% dedicated to crude oil – much of that is probably leaving the country altogether.
What are some ways you can #drivesmall this winter? We have some ideas:
- Carpool to work with your cooworkers on Mondays, then use what you save to take everyone to lunch at a local restaurant.
- Buy a monthly bus pass for commuting and other trips. Take what you’ll save to visit a local bookstore and buy some reading material for your rides.
- Walk or bike to your neighborhood grocery store rather than driving to a big box store. Use what you’ll save to splurge on a local craft brew.
When you save money on your transportation costs by using options like carpooling, bicycling, and taking the bus, that means more money in your pocket – and more money to spend at the amazing local restaurants, shops, and attractions right here in central and southwest Virginia. And every dollar you spend here is more likely to stay here and get spent again and again – about half of every dollar spent at a local business is reinvested locally, versus 14% spent at a chain store.
Shop small, drive small this holiday season. We’d love to hear your #drivesmall ideas – use this hashtag to let us know how you’re getting around and where you’re going, and tag us on Twitter or Instagram at @ridesolutions, or tag our Facebook page. We’ll share your ideas to inspire others to #drivesmall to keep our local economy strong.