Saturday, April 28, 2007

Four dollars a gallon...

They say it could happen, at least in some places in the US. $4 a gallon gasoline may not sound like a lot if you're from another country, but we're not used to it and it's going to hurt.

Although we've kind of got used to the idea of higher and more unstable gasoline prices, we'll be upset by even higher prices. Most - or at least, many - places in the US don't have adequate public transportation, and there is little demand for it.

Why? Because we're so independent. We like having our own transportation so we can go where we want to, when we want to and get home with two minutes to spare if we like. We don't mind paying for mandatory insurance, new tires, oil changes and car washes. Just don't ask us to pay much for gas.

Things get out of whack now and then when it comes to priorities, don't they?

Independence is good when it's not extreme, but extreme is hard to define. I don't have any answers and I'm not suggesting that we go to all public transportation, but maybe... just maybe. Maybe we could step back from the independence microphone long enough to see that sometimes it makes sense to dig in, shoulder the responsibility and give up just a little freedom - not much, just a little.


  1. My daughter is currently living in Helsinki, Finland. Circumstances prevented them from having a car, so they must use public transport. Finland has a very nice rail system, but they miss having a car very much. Shopping becomes burdensome, as you must carry the packages back home; you buy what you need every few days preventing you from really being frugal. You spend more time shopping than if you were able to do it all at once. If you wish to visit someone on the weekends outside of Helsinki, what would be a one hour drive or less turns into two hours or more waiting for the trains.
    Being car-less makes it difficult to be frugal for the pocketbook as well your time. Getting into your car with your goods and children is a safety factor as well. While I am definitely not referring to Finland, not all cities or areas in the US are "safe" to travel without the protection of a vehicle.

  2. Thanks, gigi, it's good to hear it from a different perspective.

    I realize that public transportation has its own set of problems and there are places where a bus or train wouldn't be safe. As I said, I'm not suggesting that we become completely dependent on public transportation, but we could definitely use it more than we do.

  3. Hot weather or not, when it reaches $4/gallon, I'm riding the bus! Currently, the $30/week bill is eating my budget and I make sure all of my errands are run along the same route. Houston is not a non-car friendly place. We even have to drive and park to get to our bus ride.

  4. Most cities in the US developed with never a thought to public transportation. It's a shame, though that they can't set up bus routes to be convenient to most neighborhoods.

    I don't have to drive to get to work (I work at home). It would be a real budget buster for me to have to pay $30 a week for gas.

  5. I sure do go out less often then I used too. I drive a 15 passenger van, with a big family I have to. We live in the boonedocks and must drive 1/2 hour to get to the store. We plan around appts. This week we have a dentist appointment. That will be the day to go shopping as well. Cutting back on trips out has made us happier. Our lives are less complicated now that we are home more.

  6. A simpler life is really a good side benefit. I think most of us have bought into the idea that we should do everything as we need it, instead of planning ahead a little. I remember Mom making grocery lists for her once a month shopping trip. I do well if I go once a week.

  7. We’re a two car family, and we used to be a two income family. I've been trying to convince my husband that we don't need two cars, and that between the insurance, taxes, inspection, maintenance, and gas we can't really afford two cars. DH doesn't like the idea of me being home alone with dd without a car, so for now we still have my car. My goal is to make every gas tank last two weeks, and to walk and take the bus as much as I can.

  8. I think a tank of gas every two weeks is reasonable. I don't use that much, but I live near shopping and don't often go out of town.