Friday, April 25, 2008

Surviving Gas Prices

Yesterday morning, the gas price at the station around the corner was $3.43/gallon. Yesterday afternoon, it was $3.55/gallon. Some stations have even stopped bothering to show the prices on signs because the prices seem to change on an hourly basis. I don't know about you, but I don't think most gas stations are buying gas on an hourly basis. I think they just look at the futures prices and go by that and not what they are actually paying to fill the underground tanks.

However that may be, the higher prices are something to which all of us will need to adjust. The higher price of gas and diesel will drive up manufacturing costs and shipping costs. Each of us who drive can do something basic to help conserve gas and thereby drive the price of gas down or help keep it from increasing at such an alarming rate: drive 55mph.

Last Thursday, I filled up my car. It took 13 gallons. I drove to New Orleans and back. My daily round trip commute is 22 miles. The trip meter shows as of yesterday afternoon, I've driven 379 miles since my fill up. I still have enough gas to last until Tuesday. That is based on my experience of driving 60mph. By driving 55mph, I may not have to gas up again until Wednesday.

By reducing the speed I drove from 65mph to 60mph and now to 55mph, instead of having to fill up every 7 days, it will now be 10-11 days. Instead of having to spend $40 to $50 four times a month, it will now be 2 to 3 times a month. This does two things, if each of us tries it. First, our pocket books won't suffer such a big hit. Second, driving slower helps conserve gas. If enough people change their driving habits, it will decrease demand and hopefully drive prices down or keep them from reaching ever higher prices.

It helps that I drive a compact car but even those who drive gas guzzling SUVs and full-sized pick-up trucks, notoriously bad for gas mileage, can save themselves chunks of change.

A few years ago, diesel fuel prices were cheaper than gas prices. People started buying diesel trucks and now diesel prices are $0.50 higher than gas prices. That new reality is reflected in the prices we see at the grocery store.

If I could afford one, I would consider a scooter like a Vespa. This one can go up to 75mph while getting 75mpg. I could use it on the interstate but I think I would go the back route. I think I save the money from the Economic Stimulus Package and buy one of these babies next year when I receive my tax refund.

I think it would look pretty good for traveling the beach. I would use my car for picking up groceries.

3 comments:

Abbadon said...

Each of us who drive can do something basic to help conserve gas and thereby drive the price of gas down or help keep it from increasing at such an alarming rate: drive 55mph.

Yeah, right...

Shabbat shalom!

Jack said...

I paid $3.90 the other day.

shira said...

mark,

Somehow, I figured this post wouldn't aply to you.

jack,

The California dream! Taxes and more taxes everywhere you turn?