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Sedan vs truck: which one should I take to work?

Feb. 7, 2022
4 mins
A business woman drives her car

This article has been updated from a previous version.

If you have two vehicles sitting in your driveway, it may be difficult to decide which one to drive to work. Even if you’re working full-time remotely to prevent the spread of COVID-19, you could return to commuting twice a day, five days a week. That is a lot of driving, which means your decision should not be based solely on which vehicle you prefer. It’s also important to consider how your daily commute can affect your wallet and auto insurance.

If you have a truck and a sedan, the choice is easy. Smaller cars can generally save you money, and who doesn’t like that? Unless you are a plumber, contractor, or another professional who is required to move large cargo regularly, you may want to leave your truck at home during the workweek.

Three reasons to leave your truck at home

You may be the go-to person when it’s time for a friend to move or take their large articles to the donation centre. However, sitting in traffic or commuting long distances in your truck may not be as practical if you have a smaller second option.

According to Statistics Canada, the number of working professionals using personal vehicles to commute to work in June 2020 was still significant, dropping only eight percentage points — from 75% (pre-pandemic) to 67%. Commuters are likely to increase their personal vehicle use to get to work as the economy continues to reopen.

If you are or will be a long-distance commuter, here are three good reasons to leave your truck at home:

  1. Parking: A smaller vehicle can squeeze into those tight parking spots. This can be handy when there is limited parking, especially downtown.
  2. Save money on gas and maintenance: The sheer weight, size, and power of a truck requires a lot of gas and can wear out your tires faster than a lightweight vehicle.
  3. Insurance claims may be higher: Larger vehicles may cause more property damage or personal injury in the event of a collision. This may result in higher insurance claims associated with trucks or SUVs.

Three benefits to driving a smaller car

Not only can your sedan be quite sporty looking, it can also manoeuvre through traffic with ease on your way to work.

Here are three reasons to drive your sedan to work:

  1. Affordability: Smaller sedans and compact cars are typically priced within a more affordable range unless they are luxury vehicles. This means the replacement value might also be less, along with your insurance rate.
  2. More seats: You can carpool a lot easier with a sedan. A standard car can hold five people, whereas a basic cab can only hold three. If you have an extended cab truck, which also holds five, you may pay even more for gas, maintenance, and insurance.
  3. Lower environmental impact: Cars that use less gas produce fewer emissions.

How to save even more

There may be even more ways to save on your commute to work.

Leave work a little later

If you can, adjust your work schedule or leave work 10 minutes later. It may save you more than just the agony of getting stuck in rush hour traffic.

According to Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), it’s recommended that you “turn off your engine when you’re stopped for more than 60 seconds, except when in traffic. The average vehicle with a 3-litre engine wastes 300 millilitres (over 1 cup) of fuel for every 10 minutes it idles.”

Avoiding the bumper-to-bumper congestion can save you money on gas, and you may actually get home around the same time without having to sit in traffic.

Slow down

Slowing down and maintaining speed can reduce fuel consumption. Consider using cruise control for highway driving when appropriate and leave enough room between you and the car ahead. This way, you can keep your speed steady and coast to decelerate.

NRCan did the math, “For example, at 120 km per hour, a vehicle uses about 20% more fuel than at 100 km per hour. On a 25-km trip, this spike in speed – and fuel consumption – would cut just two minutes from your travel time.”

Compare quotes

Before you make your final decision, break it down. How much are your cars costing you in insurance, maintenance, and gas? Consider which car may depreciate the most/fastest and compare car insurance quotes for both vehicles. At RATESDOTCA you can compare quotes from more than 50 providers instantly.

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Hayley Osmond

Hayley Osmond is an editor and writer in the personal finance space, where she uses her eight years of media and marketing experience to bring content to life. She specializes in money products, including mortgages, home and auto insurance, and credit cards. Hayley holds a Broadcast Journalism diploma from Sheridan College and was awarded the Shaw Media Journalism and Media Award for graduating at the top of her class. Her work has appeared in Global News and diverse digital corporate training materials behind the scenes.

Hayley is passionate about making complex subjects, such as home buying and financial literacy, concise and intriguing. Her work has garnered media coverage from The Globe and Mail, blogTO, Yahoo! News, and CityNews 680 and has been syndicated across other publications.

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