Friday, May 13, 2011

Grace and the Gas Monster

The rising price of gasoline is wreaking havoc on my finances. I budget $60 every 15 days. That used to buy me a full tank with ten or more dollars left over. Nowadays, it won't even completely fill the tank. I currently pay $3.83 a gallon.

According to Gas Buddy, there is one station a long way from me that charges 10 cents per gallon less but otherwise, my neighborhood Arco station is among the least expensive places to go. Supposedly, we may see some relief around Memorial Day week-end, at last according to the LA Times. That would be nice, but I'm not counting on it.

The frustrating thing is that I do live in a city with excellent public transportation, and I have an annual pass that is heavily subsidized by my employer. So I don't quite know where all my mileage is going.

Last week, I made a concerted effort NOT to use my car. It did not go well. It was my week to shop for groceries, which took me to three different stores, not one close to the other. I could have taken the bus, but since I shop for a month, I didn't want to be lugging bags of groceries by bus. Then one of my daughters needed help moving so it was Mom's minivan to the rescue. And then, and then . . . [many excuses later] I was riding around with a gas gauge that was perilously close to empty.

I'm going to try this experiment again this next week--we'll see.

8 comments:

mutantsupermodel said...

Cheapest spot in my city is right by my house and is $3.88. Most places are between $3.95 and $4.09 and have spent more than $100 this month when I hardly ever even hit $100. Driving me NUTS

BeenRobbed said...

Last time I filled up it was $4.60 here in Chicago. I've been keeping my driving to a minimum.

Jan said...

Gas went from $3.84 to $3.79 on Wednesday here. Thursday it was up to $3.93! It's taking a big toll. We have no public transportation.

Nora@The Dollar Hollering Homemaker said...

We have 3.97 around here. I've been trying to only use the car twice a week and combine as many trips as possible.

Morrison said...

Don't ride around with a gas gauge close to 'E'. This causes the fuel pump to work harder to pump fuel into the engine. You may think you are saving a few dimes, but a fuel pump repair will cost you hundreds.

I keep my tank at 1/4. I try not to let it drop lower than that. It's just a game with our brains. But one that could do serious damage to our wallets.

Bob Lowry said...

Keeping a detailed log of where you drive over a several week period is about the only sensible way to find things that can be consolidated, eliminated, or lend themselves to a bus trip.

It isn't a lot different than developing a money budget. You can't know what to spend until you know how you spend!

Good luck, Grace. Like a lot of us, gas prices are forcing a change in how we live. I'm glad we are past the minivan stage.

Terry said...

Yikes! I know this only too well. Today I filled up here in Miami where gas was $4.09 !!! I am very lucky in that I don't have to fill up very often because I car pool with 6 co-workers to our job site, almost 20 miles away. I can only imagine what my gas bill would be if I did not carpool. As it is DH's bill runs almost $90/week. It's getting so we don't go anywhere but essential places (like work)....

MasterPo said...

The physical structure of the American society and economy is soooooooooooo much based on personal transportation. That's why (among other reasons) MasterPo has to laugh so hard at all the talk of high speed rails!

The ability to get into your car and go as far as you want, then with in a matter of minutes refuel and be on your way again, drives the economy (no pun intended). Electrics? Hybrids? Smart cars? Might as well go back to horse and buggy, were it not for the animal rights people.

Personal transportation when, where, and how far you want is a corner stone of liberty.