On my Google homepage, I subscribe to a widget called “Local Gas Prices”. I’ve been monitoring the lowest gas prices in my area for a few weeks now and have noticed a significant change. Obviously we all know prices are going up, but it’s disturbing to see the numbers change daily.
The same gas stations that showed the lowest area price of $2.61 per gallon back on Nov 1st are now showing a low, low price of $2.99 per gallon today Nov. 15th.
That’s 38 cents increase over just 14 days!
Now, we can handle this price difference because I barely drive anymore, and Stacie has a relatively efficient MINI Cooper. However, the MINI takes 91 octane, which is hard to find, so she has to pay anywhere from $3.25-$3.40 per gallon for 83 octane.
Still, though, we can handle it. Overall, I calculated that every $1 gas price hike would cost us an extra $1,300 per year at an average 23mpg with 30,000 miles combined travel with my truck, her MINI and our 4 cylinder Pontiac. We could increase that average to 26mpg if I didn’t drive my truck, and would save about $150 more on gas doing so. However, I like my truck, and we’re not hurting for money. In reality, though, we’ll also be driving less and visiting our families less, so we might end the year with more like 22k-25k miles driven.
But we’re not the ones hurting. It’s our families back in rural PA who are paying MORE than us for gas now. Our families reporting paying about 2-3 cents more per gallon, and for people making a fraction of our income, that’s a big chunk of the monthly income.
For example, my father-in-law travels about 60 miles per day (about 5 days per week, sometimes more) for his job. He’s a handyman and drives a V8 Toyota Tundra (he needs the power for hauling heavy tools and lumber and getting over the mountains to job sites). Let’s say he gets between 16-20mpg. At 260 days per year, that’s 15,600 miles, not counting the driving on other days and the 500 miles he drives. At the current $3.09 per gallon, that’s $2410-3012 per year, just for his driving. Add my MIL’s and they’re probably looking at $3,000-4,500 per year, which is a major chunk of their income (I don’t want to give a % since their income is private).
If gas goes up to $4 per gallon, my in-laws are looking at about $3,800-$5,000 per year. Looks like we’ll be down to one visit per year, unless we pay them to come (which isn’t out of the question).
How have the increases affected your lifestyle and wallet? Have you continued to drive the same or reduced your trips/mileage?