Friday, July 18, 2008

Gas Costs Revisited

I keep reading the most outlandish suggestions for saving gas. Turning off the car at intersections is my favorite stupid one, probably brought on by the nonactivity of hybrid cars at same. No thanks. When it’s on, I want it to stay on. My big fear with a car is that it won’t start. Or won’t start again. Why multiply the opportunities for that dread event?

But yesterday, I made the effort to fill up on cheaper gas (not by going out of my way, however, which I’ve already proven saves no money). And then I had to use up all my gas savings when a serious car accident closed down the road home. I couldn’t just wait it out by the side of the road; it was 94 degrees out and I had perishable food in my car. In a cooler, it’s true. But a woman sitting alone in her car by the side of a country road as sunset approaches? Not a good idea. What if I couldn’t start my car again? Then I’d be in trouble. Instead I took a detour of several miles.

So here’s my thought: We can try to save gasoline. We can limit our trips and we can plan our itineraries so there are no wasted steps, but chance is still going to rule the outcome. Right now, the stock market is up and oil prices are down. Those two situations have almost nothing to do with me; I’m not much of a consumer, as we know, and my buying behavior is based more on my income than on the price of gasoline. Yet the price of oil and the swing of the stock market are more likely to affect the final cost to me of using my car than anything I can do. Other than leaving it in the garage and hiking the 12 miles to the nearest town wearing a backpack with a cooler inside.

You know that book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” with the subtitle, “It’s all Small Stuff”? Good point.

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