Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve really become bothered by the high gas prices. I know everyone else has, too, but usually when stuff in the economy like this happens, I tend to ignore it. It’s really difficult to ignore this one. We own a Chevy conversion van (with 7 of us, it’s the only thing that will hold us and all our crap when vacation time rolls around), a couple weeks ago, I went to the gas station to fill it up and it cost me $100! I paid $4.01 a gallon, and a week later, I had a 1/8th of a tank left and went by the same station and the price per gallon had gone up to $4.16. That’s a .15 increase over 7 days!
Since then, I’ve had a windfall of car repairs done on my aging jeep and then on our hand me down Lincoln. All that cost me $1600. I’m not here giving you all a rundown on money I’ve spent just to bore you, really-I’m trying to make a point here with my divulging. All I’m thinking about as I’m forking over this money to Ed, my mechanic, is “Em…you really need to buy a new, more economical car that gets waaaay more miles to the gallon.” Suddenly, I’m paying attention to car commercials, and overnight I begin to desperately want a new Hundai Sonata for $17K that gets 32 miles to the gallon. But wait! I heard just last night from a car fanatic that the best car by far to buy for the miles per gallon quality is the Toyota Prius-a hybrid. Yes, that’s what I want, a Prius! Jodi Foster has one of those. She’s a really smart cookie so that must mean I’ll be making a smart decision if I buy one of those. (No, Blondie, she’s just got a buttload more money than you!) OKAY. Deep breath here….and back to reality. It’s a fun fantasy to think I can go out and get a new car, but the reality of the situation is I’m in a partnership here and my husband just isn’t going to let me go out and offhandedly buy a new car. But when I start to add up all this money that’s flying out the window for used car repairs, I wonder if a new car for that money is what I’d rather have instead.
But, since I’m not going to get a new car anytime soon, I’m beginning to think about what I will do if gas prices go much higher. My first thought is using a bike for all my little errands to the bank, or to drop off my husband’s employee’s paychecks. His office is only about 2 miles away, and I could use the bike for that. I’m imagining if I ditched the car and took up pedalling, how thin I would be after a few short months. I could use the car for just grocery shopping and employ the bike for all the other incidental trips I usually make.
Maybe I’ll need to compartmentalize my trips into one per week where I hit the post office, library and bank in one trip instead of making the spontaneous almost daily trips I usually do, going where-ever pretty much when-ever I need to.
Yes, this gas thing really is a bit frightening to me. But, I do believe I’m capable of living much more simply than I have been, which may benefit me in the long run and will help me weather what I hope will be a temporary economic crisis. I’ll stay home more, and find pleasures within my home and neighborhood instead of seeking fun farther away. I realize how much money I will save by not driving past the stores I usually stop in and end up plunking down a wad of cash for a cartful of crap I really don’t need. I suppose this gas thing could end up being a blessing in disguise. Maybe I can get my whole family involved in cycling, not just for fun, but out of necessity. Evidently, there’s a silver lining in this whole unfortunate gas crunch-that is if you look hard enough to find it.
I love the thought of gliding through the neighborhood on one of those wonderful, retro-look bikes that are so popular now. I relish the thick tires and the wicker basket over the handle bars. I still have the vintage Schwinn Breeze bike my dad purchased from a neighbor’s garage sale back when I was in high school. It’s red and needs some work, but I’ll bet, it just might cost a whole lot less than having that Jeep repaired. And as much as I’d love to have a red Prius, for now, I think I’ll settle for the red bike instead. Maybe with all this gas money I’m saving, I’ll have enough after a couple years to buy that new car.
What will you do to overcome this gasoline price hike? I’d love to hear your thoughts….