Coping with High Gasoline Prices

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I should have filled up the tank yesterday.  But I was tired and decided to wait one day.  When I pulled up to the gas station, the price had just increased by an additional $0.20 a gallon.  It was the same over at the next block, so there was not much of a choice.

All over the country, people are cringing as they see gas prices rapidly increasing.  I won’t tell you to go out and buy a more fuel efficient car, if you already have a “paid for” truck because that may not be practical.  Unless you are already in the market for a new car and have the funds, I would not recommend getting into more debt.  Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Combine errands as much as possible.  I am going to start mapping out a route to cover all my errands at once and avoid having to drive too much
  • Go to a grocery store that offers gasoline discount rewards if that is available in your area.
  • Consider public transportation.  If you live close to a bus line or metro rail then it is worth a look.
  • Check into van pools at work.  Our office does not have an official van pool but they have a referral service.  One lady I work with who lives 30 miles away applied and was matched up with a group.  The members take turns driving and are very organized about backups.  She has saved a lot of money since joining.
  • Make sure your car gets regularly serviced and tires are inflated properly.
  • If your child has classmates living nearby, set up a car pool with the other parents and take turns driving the neighborhood kids to school
  • Try walking instead of driving, but only if it’s safe to do so in your neighborhood.
  • Drive within the speed limit.  Speeding will cause you to waste gas, and possibly get a ticket, which will just ruin your day.
  • Research the internet for lower gas prices in your area before going out to fill up the car.
  • Start cutting back your other discretionary expenses, like entertainment and eating out, to offset the higher cost of gas.

You know what happens next:  prices of goods and services, from groceries to electronics to air fare will increase.  Brace yourself.

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  1. Extending the “Combine errands as much as possible” idea, consider combining your errands with your neighbor’s errands. Ask him or her to pick up something for you when you don’t need much and when they’ll be going out anyway. And, do the same for them. This tactic will require that you establish a fairly close relationship with your neighbors, and it requires that you hold up your end of the bargain.

    — Sam

  2. Good advice. I’m thinking of buying a really inexpensive used car to avoid driving our Tahoe everywhere. It’s scary to think that these prices may become the new normal. (I hate that phrase.)

  3. We picked up a couple of bikes and now we’re looking for the rest of the gear we need – helmets, seats for the kids, a bike trailer. We had already decided that we’d be switching to the bikes when the snow is gone. We’re working to decrease our grocery shopping to once a month, and then we’ll work on getting it down to once a quarter. Long term goal is once a year, but that would require living in a place where we have a garden (or a community garden in walking distance).

    I have absolutely no doubt that gas prices will continue to rise. We’re currently paying $1.20/litre (about $4.46/US gallon), and we use the car for vital errands only (getting to school/work and getting groceries). There’s a great sale on flour this week, but it’s on the other side of town. I had to give serious thought to whether or not the sale offsets the gas cost!

    We’re looking for a new doctor for the kids, because we can’t drive 20 km (12 miles) to the next town to see the one we prefer. That really sucks, by the way, especially if I get pregnant again – my midwife and pediatrician are too far away with these prices.

    The only answer, honestly, is to drive less with the idea that we will NOT be maintaining a society that depends on cars and trucks for transportation.

    1. That is a shame you have to change doctors, it’s always hard to find one who is a good fit for your family. I am sure you can get a good referral for someone closer. We got bikes too, but haven’t used them in a while, but I think we’ll be dusting them off and soon will be using them.

  4. Locally we just hit 1.30 per liter so close to 5 dollars a gallon, and I have to admit that while we already try and time shopping to piggy back to the work days, and DH only drives to the city limits and then takes the bus from there, and he asked and got permission to work from home one day a week to see how it goes, if goes well, he might be able to work two days a week from the farm, that would save gas, and wear an tear on the vehicle.

    We already piggy back our shopping to planned trips out for going to work etc. but for sure we will be watching and figuring out costs for extra trips..

    1. Sounds like you’re already doing everything you can.. That is great if your husband is able to work from home a couple times a week.

  5. If you are willing to put some work, and the start up cost into it you can convert your existing vehicle to flex fuel and then obtain a permit to distill ethanol for fuel. You can get the permit in the USA from the Dept. of the Treasury, it’s free but the conversion and the equipment to start producing is not.

  6. Do you have a job (and a boss!) that would allow you to occasionally or regularly (say, 1 day a week) work from home? The best and cheapest commute is no commute.

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