Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My gasoline consumption

One of the joys of listening to NPR each morning is how they delivery the stark economic news every morning. It's not a "fair and biased" Fox News approach, nor an overly sensational in-your-face presentation of the major networks.

Each morning, they tell me that gas has reached a new record high, foreclosures are increasing, unemployment is up, and the dollar has lost value once again. Then, they follow their disappointing news with gentle acoustic music, lulling me into a sense of complacency.

But finally last night, NPR caused me to think - how much am I actually spending on gasoline for my very un-eco-friendly-yet-wholly-paid-off Jeep?

In 2007, I spent $1,749.68 at the pump. Yes, down to the penny, I am aware of my gas expenditure.

So far in 2008, with gas much more expensive, I spent $502.12 through May 14th, putting me on pace for $1,338.99 (not factoring in how gas for the remainder of the year will cost more than gas for the first part of the year). Even if gas increases another 20%, I can project my year-end bill to be $1,606.78.

Now, those projections aren't perfect, because they also assume consistent consumption throughout the year. Nonetheless, I'm not hoarding a secret stash of gas in my closet.

I'm just driving less. Fewer leisure trips outside of the city. Less business travel. Fewer tooling around to unnecessary places.

I feel better. Just a bit, but better.

While I realize that everything is connected, and that higher gas prices cause higher airline prices, higher delivery fees, higher costs of food, lower consumer confidence, etc, I am comforted to realize that my entire paycheck is not going into the hands of the Hess on Old Colony Ave.

Even if gas doubled from last year, factoring out all other cost increases and assuming my level of consumption last year, that would cost me an additional $1,749.68 per month, or about $145 extra per month.

I was beginning to wonder if it's time for a more efficient car if the payment was going to offset the fuel efficiency.

At this point, it doesn't appear that I need to trade in the Jeep. 64,000 miles, a bunch of fresh repairs to keep it rolling. And it's only the third car I have owned in my 17+ years of driving.

$145 extra per month would suck, but it's not utterly devastating to me. It is still unacceptable, and sets a dangerous precedent should this rate of increase endure for years to come, but it's not game-ending.

I'm much more fortunate than those who have longer commutes or spend their workdays in their vehicles.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

I saw that story on the news about the people with gallons of gas in their closet. YIKES!!!!