IT Pilgrimage

A Journey From IT to Freedom

Why You Should Not Care About Gas Prices

Posted by IT Pilgrim on June 27, 2008

It seems like everywhere we look these day, someone is complaining about gas prices. If its not how to find cheaper gas, its about how to save gas. While all that is admirable, heck, we’ve all done it, and I’ve completely changed the way I drive to save gas, does it really matter in the grand scope of things? Is your life really changed drastically by gas prices or is it just an emotional response for us all? I tend to think it is and I am sure that people will let me know how wrong they think I am, but let’s take a look at the numbers here.

Gas prices have risen yes, and for the sake or this example, let’s say they have risen from $3/gallon to $4 a gallon. OK, so that’s $1 a gallon. Let’s say your car takes 10 gallons (just a simple number chosen since my math is less than stellar). That’s an average of $10 a tank. Let’s go with two tanks of gas a week. that’s an average of $20 a week, or $80 a month. That is a couple of hours of overtime, or a few hours at a second job, a couple of lunches a week, or a dinner out. Is that really life changing? I am going to go out on a limb here, and say that if it is, you have bigger problems and you need to take control of your expenses.

What can you do about it? Well, for one, you can worry about it, but that is not going to change anything. You can complain about it, and most people do, but that also doesn’t change anything. I say its about choices. All life is governed by the choices we make, good or bad. I know some people like to say they have no choice, but I am saying that we always have a choice. It may not be the best choice, and none of the options may be good, but its still a choice, even not making a decision is still a choice.

So what can you, as an individual do about it?
1. Take a bus.
2. Carpool
3. Hypermile
4. Get a job closer to home
5. Ride a bike or walk to work.

Bus
Some of these choices are hard. I hear a lot of people say that they cannot take a bus to work, and I say that rather, they choose not to. For example, I could drive or bike the 8 miles to the nearest park and ride, get on the bus, and take the 2 1/2 hour ride to work, then bike to my office. Is it a good choice? No, its not, so I choose not to do it, but is it a choice, yes, always.

Carpool
Carpooling can be difficult, and inconvenient at times. Since I work in IT, I often keep weird and crazy hours and stay at work for 12-16 hours at a time, not good for a carpool, so I choose not to do it. It could be done and I think a lot more people could do it. Have you ever looked around in traffic and taken note of how few cars have more than one person in them?

Hypermile
This is my personal choice. Bare feet, rolling up to lights and all that. I like that I have direct control over how much gas I use and have been able to cut down from filling up twice a week to just once, and that with driving over 300 miles a week.

Get a Job closer to home
This is a little more difficult, but again, its about choices. I am considering taking a job at the same office that my spouse works so we can carpool. It would involve a paycut to do so, so that’s a choice I have to make.

Ride a bike
Riding a bike to work can be hard. Cars don’t respect bikes on the road and all that makes it even harder. Again, it’s a hard choice. I could choose to bike the 32 miles to work and the 32 miles back each day, or ride the bus one way. I choose not to because I am too fat and lazy to make it, but I think its time we take responsibility for our choices.

We all choose to do what’s easiest or most convenient for us. I have seen neighbors who drive 25 miles to work at a fast food joint when there is one only 5 mile away because they like their co-workers. So I guess what I am saying is that its time for us to stop complaining. We made our bed, with our big trucks and SUVs that you cant even sell nowadays, its time to lie in them.

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