bicycles, gas prices, Hundai Sonata, Jodi Foster, retro bicycles, Toyota Prius

Scheming and Strategizing and trying to Cope

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….