29 April 2008

Pinching Pennies for Fuel

I find myself measuring everything against the cost of gas these days. We used to go to Boston for a day to walk the Freedom Trail or to Connecticut to visit family; now we opt to stay closer to home or consolidate fun trips with necessary meetings and appointments.

I drive 12 miles to take my daughter to her twice-a-week class that meets for just under two hours. I used to go back home to do school with my other daughter, but now, instead, we go to the local McDonalds, have breakfast, and work on school there. Having breakfast out (a cheap breakfast, that is) is less expensive than driving an extra 24 miles in the car.

I can live with that.

In addition, we’ve made a study of how to consolidate errands, appointments and meetings, and I try to schedule everything on the same day and near the same time. It’s a bit insane, but it actually keeps me more organized (I can use all the help I can get.)

Yesterday I heard from my friend, Carol, who lives in England. She said the price of gas there is £1.10 per litre, which comes out to approximately $8.00 per gallon. Can you imagine? She is thinking of all kinds of creative ways to NOT use the car.

At our house in Maine, we live about three miles from the closest stores, gas stations, etc., so walking isn't usually an option. Besides, I do grocery shopping once a week for a big family. If I walk there, how will I get the 20+ bags home through the snow?

Our church is 12 miles away.

The shopping center is 6 miles away.

Several of our doctors are 35 miles away.

The only thing within walking distance of our home is a small convenience store that's about 1.5 miles away, and that's walking down a very busy road without sidewalks. Biking is a possibility, but again, there’s the weather…

I think that if our gas prices go up to $8.00/gallon, it will be more economical to move closer to town, sell the car, and just walk everywhere.

Or buy a horse and buggy. Surely it’s cheaper to feed a horse than to feed a minivan?

Copyright © 2008 - Paulla Estes


Sue said...

Seriously, we have horses and I saw my husband looking at buggies the other day!
I can't imagine gas being $8 a gallon. Then again I remember(about 10 years ago) driving around NH and finding gas for under a dollar when it was about a dollar in MA. I was psyched! I wish I had saved some!

Beth said...

I find myself calculating what it would cost to get me somewhere and if it was really worth it, time-wise and money-wise (I believe that time is money). My van gets about 20 mpg in town, up to 24 mpg on the highway. So for me to justify going to Costco once a month, (about 40 miles away), is it worth about approx $15 to do? Will I save that much? So far, I can justify it, because I consolidate my other shopping on that day as well. It used to be I didn't think anything of it and just went whenever I thought of it. Now I make it a once a month deal.

Paulla said...

Sue, I remember that. At one point in the late 90s, gas was $0.89/gallon here in Maine. What a thrill that was! Now it's more than four times that. Sure, we're all making a bit more money, but not FOUR TIMES as much! You're right, we should have saved some.

Beth, I think you and I drive the same van. I hear you about trying to justify trips like that. Good that you can consolidate other things with it.

Nicole said...

Yeah, I am also much more aware of mileage to my favorite places and gas prices. It's sad when I live so close to Bar Harbor but I have to ration my trips...

Jeff said...

Both my wife and I work and our jobs are 30 or more miles away. My wife has talked about moving closer to Portland to be able to save money on gas, but I found out that my parents in South Portland are now paying close to $4000 a year in property tax and my sister in Cumberland about the same. Plus housing prices are significantly higher the closer you get to that major metropolis (lol). We only pay about $1300 a year in property taxes where we live, so I'm not sure a move makes sense from the money side.