Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Preparing for $4 a gallon gas (and hopefully not $5)

$4 gas is most likely right around the corner; weeks or even days rather than months. The media is already reporting that gas this month is the highest ever for February. With summer driving season months away I suppose there is a set of scenarios where we might even see $5 gas this year. Yikes!

With this in mind I am trying to develop a plan to deal with this so I don't let it become any more burdensome than it has to be. Basically I plan on minimizing the number of days I drive to work.

My car is a Subaru and gets about 22 mpg. The math on my commuting is simple: it takes about one gallon of gas for me to drive to and from work in the Subaru. So everyday I don't drive I save a gallon of gas. I also love the idea of keeping miles, and wear and tear off the car.

To minimize days driving I have four options:

  • Bike. I plan on bike commuting as much as possible this summer. This is a great way to take care of exercise and saving on gas money at the same time.
  • Motorcycle. My motorcycle gets about 45 mpg. This option uses half the gas of the car and keeps miles off the car as well. And it is fun.
  • Carpool. There are two people I could potentially carpool with but work schedules would need to be adjusted. While not impossible, changing schedules would be less than ideal.
  • Bus. There is a bus that more or less meanders from our house to my office. But with a 1/2 mile of walking involved that option would take over an hour each way and cost $4 a day so there would be zero incentive to do this.
The other household commute isn't as much of a concern since we have a Honda Hybrid. Even with high price of gas this car's 46 mpg makes it easy to deal with the price increase. My wife uses this car to commute 20 miles a day and uses less than half a gallon to do so.

My goal is to have 16 car-free commuter weeks for the remainder of the year. That would be over 1,600 fewer miles driven on our Subaru this year.

Has the prospect of $4 gas got you concerned? How are you preparing? At what price would gas really change your habits?

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