Posted by: ladybughugs | June 4, 2008

Feeling Squeeeeezed

First, I’d like to say, the graphic artist in me would really like a condensed font up there in the head.

If you’re like me you’re getting squeezed at the gas pump. I’m doing everything I can to avoid driving any more than I have to. But, I have to drive. I have to get to work. I have to pick up groceries in order to feed my kids (FYI: DYFS frowns on not feeding your children). I can’t not take Scout to his cub scout meetings or baseball or any of the other multitudes of places he needs to go.

With a 35 mile/1h10m commute, each way, and two kids to drop at school and daycare, riding a bike (or motorcycle, or horse, whatever) is just not an option. The public transportation system in my area is not designed for my real-world commute. I wonder, if buses and trains actually went near enough to my house and office, how long my commute would actually be. How many HOURS would I spend outside my home in the getting from here to there and back with both kids getting to their respective locations?

Last week the Senate put the oil companies’ ‘feet to the fire’ in order to get to the bottom of the current crisis. The oil companies basically turned it around on the Senate saying they should be permitted to explore U.S. territories for new oil fields. It leaves me wondering why the oil companies should try to keep oil prices down. Don’t they mark up the oil they refine on a percentage basis? So wouldn’t it stand to reason that they’d make more money if they paid more per barrel? For example, wouldn’t they make twice as much money on one barrel if they paid $120 for it than if they paid $60 for it? So why would they want to pay $60 for it?

Someone at work was feeling helpful and posted printed copies of these two articles in one of the pantries.

6 Gas-Saving Myths: Here you’ll find what doesn’t work.

Some habits that waste gas: 6 Ways You’re Wasting Gas

This article explains really well how we got here.

I [heart] CNNMoney.com.

What I Am Doing

In the past six months, or so, I’ve been driving with the digital ‘AVG MPG’ display on. This gives me an idea of when I’m using gas efficiently and when I’m not. The one biggest difference has been highway MPG vs. ‘city’ MPG. My new commute puts me on an open highway much more than my former commute did. Unfortunately, I’m driving MANY more highway miles than I used to which more than offsets any savings. Before my change in commute I was filling up once every two weeks. Now, if I’m careful, I can sometimes get by with only one fill-up each week. If. I’m. Very. Conservative. At $75/fill-up that’s a huge difference each month. My ‘before commute’ was about 8 miles @ 14 MPG, now it’s about 35 miles @ 19.5 MPG, give or take a tenth or two.

The next biggest difference, I think, has been easing up on both the gas and brake pedals. I’m not accelerating as quickly at the green lights. I’m also slowing down earlier at the red lights, hoping that I won’t have to come to a full stop. It must really frustrate the drivers stuck behind me. Sorry if you’re one of them.

I’d really like to trade in the minivan for something a little more fuel-efficient. When we decided on the minivan we were in a different place than we are now. I needed that space for the stuff I was carrying around for my ‘other’ job. We had seriously looked at an Escape and a Freestyle and there wasn’t enough space in the first and the latter was uncomfortable (H and I both have back problems and we couldn’t see riding around in a vehicle that would hurt us). Now I’m afraid I owe more on the minivan than it’s worth. I’ll need money at trade-in for a down-payment on its replacement. Stuck.

So, what are you doing to ease the sticker-shock at the gas pump?

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Responses

  1. My commute is only 4 miles each way, however I do it twice a day because I go home for lunch. You would think it’d take me a while to go through a tank of gas, but my car (a Ford Escort wagon) is not running right so it drinks gas and runs best if it has at least a half tank in it. Anyway, I usually spend $20-30 a week on gas. It would be half that if the car was running right! The least expensive gas around here is $3.71/gal at Sam’s so the guy there knows us pretty well. It takes $70 to fill up H2’s Jeep Cherokee Sport and he drives a lot more than I do so he goes through 1 1/2 tanks a week.
    Wish I knew more about bio-diesel!

  2. […] If I had $1 for every time I’ve heard ‘huh?’ I probably wouldn’t be feeling squeeeeezed! […]

  3. My wife drives a lot for work (social worker – home visits), so we sold my ’98 Honda Civic and purchased a Nissan Versa. She now drives that and I took over the Toyota Rav 4. We are probably saving $40/week in gas. This doesn’t completely offset the car payment, but the Honda was ready to be replaced anyhow, so it worked out alright.

    Now that she is off for the summer though, I drive the Nissan most days since I have the longer commute until school starts back up.


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