Have Gas Prices Changed Your Buying Habits?

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There’s a lot of talk in the media about how gas prices are affecting consumer buying habits and hurting retail stores. What about you? Are you feeling the pinch? —MEGHANN MARCO

(Photo: superchou)

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  1. Canadian Impostor says:

    You need an option for “I use so little gas it doesn’t effect me”.

  2. Juliekins says:

    We’re a lot less likely to hop in the car and drive to the next town to see a movie or shop, if that counts. Our local theaters blow, so it’s either a 30 minute drive or Netflix for movies–lately, Netflix has been winning out. I wouldn’t say we’re subsisting on ramen, though.

    I’ve never been more thankful for my 8 mile round trip “commute.” I could make more money if I took a job in a nearby larger city, but I think my raise would get eaten up by the cost of gas.

  3. GirlGoneRiled says:

    Word, Jason.

    There are a few other options missing, too. Like “Finally exploring alternate modes of transportation and carpooling and such” or “Realizing I’m not the center of the universe and changing my schedule a bit to rideshare does not declare that I’m not a good American” and so forth. Oh, and don’t forget “Trying to remember not to complain too much because I totally bought into our unsustainable lifestyles and now will happily pay the piper”

  4. wwwhitney says:

    I voted “Ramen”. I’ve changed the way I drive and that I’ve increased my gas mileage ~25%. I drive a 96 Buick Century and I used to get 20 mpg; now I get 25mpg.

    The key is accelerating slowly, braking less, and coasting more. I never touch the gas pedal when I’m going down a hill, I accelerate slowly out of stop signs and stop lights even if someone is tailgating me, I just move slowly at a constant pace in heavy traffic instead of starting and stopping and when I see a red light coming up, I always take my foot off the gas and coast up to it instead of accelerating up to it only to have to brake (and most of the time the light turns green before I get there so I don’t ever have to stop).

    My commute to work is about 6 miles one-way with a combination of interstate and secondary street driving. I’ve found that I can cover a little more than a mile of that without ever touching my accelerator.

  5. FreemanB says:

    I agree the options are too narrow. I have a hybrid, so the higher gas prices are barely affecting me at all.

  6. there also needs to be an option to the effect of “I don’t care, and as such I just bought a truck that gets 8 MPG”

    That’d be the one I’d vote for seeing as I did just that.

  7. gwong says:

    God bless public transportation.

  8. mantari says:

    I am less inclined to make long trips in my current vehicle. So I’d say, yes, minor influence, even though I can afford it. Very minor influence on spending because I normally do so little driving.

  9. silencedotcom says:

    I wish I could vote “I do not purchase gas.”

    That’s going to bug me my entire 60 mile drive home from work today!

  10. TWinter says:

    I’m in the same category as Jason.

    I take the bus to work every day and sometimes go for weeks without filling up.

  11. jaubele1 says:

    Rather than complaining about the rising price of fuel — something that will eventually force industrialized countries to come up with viable alternative fuels — I now ride my bicycle to work three days each week. I filled up my Corolla more than two weeks ago, and still have a half tank.

  12. Starfury says:

    I carpool and this has cut my gas/toll costs in half. The total amount my wife and I spend on gas has gone up and we are spending less on other things, mainly not buying “crap” we don’t need.

  13. Jozef says:

    My gas bill went from $18/week to roughly $25/week. The $7 increase represents such a minuscule portion of my income that not only it doesn’t affect my income, I don’t even bother following the gas prices.

  14. DashTheHand says:

    Got a motorcycle last year when I knew that gas prices were going nowhere but up. Not only is it fun to ride in my leisure time, but I get 60+ mpg.

  15. Lewis says:

    My heart goes out to suburbanites who HAVE to purchase gas to get to and from work. My mom commutes a total of 50 miles every day just to get to work and back and the gas prices on Long Island are killing her. I’ve encouraged her to explore public transportation, but she says it is not an option as her home and office are too far off of the beaten path.

    At least she now carpools.

    We’re fortunate enough to be in NYC, but we do have a car (from a previous, non-NYC living life) which we like to use for weekends. Gas prices have most assuredly changed our driving habits. While we used to use the car just about every weekend and drive up or out to the country, we pretty strictly enfoce a one-tank-per-month policy.

    Living in NYC does have its own share of insane expenses, so lest anyone think NYers get away without overpaying for, well, everything. But I truly feel for those who find themselves spending $200+ a month just to get to work!

  16. B says:

    I’m in the same boat as Jason where I don’t drive enough for the gas increase to be a big deal. I pay more for gas, but at most it means I eat lunch out about once less per week. Of course, how this really hurts retail is the increased cost of shipping goods.

  17. CaptainRoin says:

    @silencedotcom: Ditto. :(

  18. chemman says:

    @silencedotcom:
    I feel your pain, I drive 64 miles each way for work everyday, but I was able to select “I do not buy gas” on a technicality, I drive a diesel VW Passat that gets around 40 miles per gallon and luckily for me diesel prices have not been affected as much as gas around here. Granted, during the winter I pay a bit more for fuel but the extra mpg’s more than offset that cost. Currently here in NC gas is around $3.19/gallon while diesel is $2.89/gallon. I’m still puzzled by the fact that diesel prices haven’t moved hardly at all over the last few months even though there is more crude oil per gallon of diesel than per gallon of gas and here in NC there is at least $0.20 more in taxes per gallon. I guess the demand for diesel isn’t as much as for gas.

  19. Buran says:

    Where’s the “I just drive a bit less”? I don’t go on as many pleasure drives just for fun, but I’m a car enthusiast so I still do do so, just not as much.

  20. Bulldog9908 says:

    Let’s be honest, does the price of gas rising $1.00 per gallon really impact the average consumer? I don’t think so.

    If you run a gas station, trucking/distribution company, or an airline, I can see the impact would be profound. But the average consumer who fills up once a week???

    In my not-so-humble opinion, if a modest rise in gas prices forces a major change in your purchasing habits, you have deeper financial problems that you need to correct.

  21. Buran says:

    @chemman: Diesel is a byproduct of the normal refining process, I think, and also is taxed differently.

    I’m a VW enthusiast and I can’t figure out what took so long for VW to put the TDI back into the Passat after it disappeared after the B4 generation went off the market around 1997.

    VW was also planning to put the TDI in the whole lineup when low-sulfur diesel was phased in here in the US, but instead cut back (you cannot get a TDI Jetta/Golf right now, for example) when the emissions requirements were tightened. A 50-state-legal TDI is on the way, however. Look for it in late 2008 or sometime in 2009.

  22. Buran says:

    @Bulldog9908: It affects more than you think. There’s been plenty of newspaper articles asking that question and running surveys and a surprisingly high number of people say “yes, it does affect me to some degree”.

    Especially those with long commutes or no mass transit available to them.

  23. Lewis says:

    @Bulldog9908: “Let’s be honest, does the price of gas rising $1.00 per gallon really impact the average consumer? I don’t think so.”

    $1/gal * ~22 gal/wk * 4 wk/mo = ~$88 more per month.

    “In my not-so-humble opinion, if a modest rise in gas prices forces a major change in your purchasing habits, you have deeper financial problems that you need to correct.”

    Totally 100% agreed. But the impact IS there.

  24. chemman says:

    @Buran:
    Yes, this is my first VW diesel and I’ve had it since 2005. I love it and am waiting for the new models to come out in ’08 or ’09 so we can replace my wife’s current car with another diesel. An added bonus is the local station here just started selling B20, which helps reduce my crude oil consumption. While it costs a bit more, my car seems to run better with it and I believe you can still get a tax break that equates to 20 cents per gallon (a penny per percentage biodiesel). When I lived in MI the local station just knocked the 20 cents off the cost and filed the tax paperwork themselves which was nice, the station here doesn’t seem to do that but I don’t remember if the tax break was state or federal so I need to check into it again.

  25. saram says:

    @chemman

    I’m excited that you mentioned biodiesel. I have a 2005 Golf TDI that I run on B99.

    Gas prices have not affected me at all. I get my B99 from a co-op type place, where I buy 100 gallons at a time (at a fixed rate of 3.15), and then just fill up as needed till I’ve depleted my 100 gallons. I usually make a purchase every 3 or 4 months. The cost of gas never crosses my mind. I also take the bus most days during the week, not because I want one less car on the road, but because paying for parking every day in downtown Seattle is one sure way to inspire a ramen diet.

    And @Buran – I’m excited to hear that more TDI’s are on their way. Thanks for the info!

  26. ladycrumpet says:

    I take public transit for work, so I’m thankful I only have to fill up maybe every two weeks. But I’ve been making a better effort to consolidate errands into fewer trips.

    While I’m not thrilled to be pay more at the pump in my old Saturn, I do enjoy the fact that people with SUVs and Hummers in my city are having to pay more to fill up their tanks.

  27. aka Cat says:

    I bought a scooter last summer. To make up for the scooter payments, I’ve started brown bagging it.

  28. cindel25 says:

    Hell yeah, I’ve notice more people are crowding the metro and taking up all the seats. Go back to your cars damnit!

  29. bluemeep says:

    I’ve had to trim back a bit on the frivolous stuff (the gag and novelty shop up the road has lost some business, I’m afraid), but so far it hasn’t been enough to really put a pinch on me. $3.00 for regular averages about an extra $30 out of me per month, I’d say.

    It’s the $4 we’ll undoubtably have to pay later this summer that’s gonna start really hurting.

  30. AcidReign says:

    …..We’re not being terribly hurt by the gas prices. I deliberately chose to buy a house close to where I work and shop. That, and two years ago, I sold my T-Bird with the 5.0 liter V-8. My little Mazda 1.6 liter sips gas.

    …..I am contributing to the retail slow-down, but it’s coincidental, not related to gas prices. I’ve got a collapsing sewer drain, and it’s going to have to be replaced soon, with ductile iron. It’s going to cost around $10k, and I’m saving up so that I don’t have to cash in a CD, sell stock or (heaven forbid!) go into debt to pay for it.

  31. alpacalypse says:

    I ride a bike.

  32. madktdisease says:

    I saw this coming and bought a Scion XA. I work 35 miles from home, and round-trip is less than $5 a day at 3.05/gallon. I’ll stop driving 74 MPH when it gets up to $4, I’m sure.

    That, and I use public transportation at least once a week for commuting. I’d sell the car and do it every day, but it’s 5 hours round trip instead of less than two. And the round-trip ticket is $15. Way to try and get people to use public transportation, MBTA :

  33. Trai_Dep says:

    I park my car at the gas station so I can snicker while pointing at the SUV drivers filling up. Gales of laughter and back flips for Hummer/Blazer/F300 owners.

  34. CumaeanSibyl says:

    My husband walks to work and I usually don’t have any reason to drive. At the moment, unfortunately, I’m in the process of renovating my new house while still living in my old apartment, so I have to drive there and back, but fortunately the new house is closer to Lowe’s and two good grocery stores, so I can get other errands done on house days. Once the renovation’s over, we’ll go back to not driving much at all.

  35. Amsterdaam says:

    80 to 160 a month (depending on whether my carpool is available) is quite a wallet-pinching sum. I am required to commute for work, and before the tree-huggers start yelling at me, There are no viable Public Transport routes between here and there. My commute would be well over 3 hours.

    Oh, and that 160 a month is in my 4 cylinder 1990 toyota cressida.

  36. YeaYuh says:

    I don’t like paying more but it hasn’t changed my driving habits.

  37. I already don’t drive much and chain my errands because I am lazy. But I do notice that I say to myself a little more often, “Ugh, that’s a 10-mile round trip — that’d be a lot of gas for one errand” when I have to go out to somewhere a bit more distant. So I’ve noticed either putting those off until I have several errands in the same far-distant place (which can take quite a while) or just dropping it.

  38. etinterrapax says:

    I’m a SAHM and work from home periodically, so my own habits are pretty much unchanged. My husband travels frequently by car for work, but that expense is tax-deductible. I’m contributing to the retail slowdown also, but I think it’s very reductive of “them” to poll about gas where that’s concerned. The pinch for us is coming from the fact that the real estate economy is slowing (so my husband hasn’t had a raise, even for cost of living, in two years) and our taxes and utilities are increasing. Our electric rate has more than doubled in the last year, and the other utilities are up 15-50%. Additionally, the new MA health insurance law is going to drain our budget for another $450/month at minimum. That brings us to zero or less, even if we stop saving. We miss the cutoff for subsidized health by less than $1000 a year. Retail spending is going to have to take it for the team while we try to eke out a middle-class life until I can find a job that would cover child care, transportation, and increased taxes, with some left over for the household. I doubt we’re alone in this. Point is, it runs a lot deeper than gas prices.

  39. s35flyer says:

    We used to eat out about 4-5 times a week as we both work. What we have done is cut that down to 2 times a week and that pretty much covers the gas increases. We will continue that strategy as they keep going up and when that doesnt work anymore, we’ll cut something else. In the meantime we run less errands and spend less money.

  40. tylerkaraszewski says:

    The difference in gas prices seems pretty trivial to me, personally. An increase of $1/gallon affects me by about 1-2% of my net income. Working around that isn’t very difficult.

  41. drezdn says:

    I’ve been biking to work, but I’m lucky to only live 2 miles from the office.

    Ever since prices started rising a few years ago, it’s really change my view of the city. I used to drive across 12 miles one way to go to the pool or go shopping. Now, I wait until I have a really good reason, or can consolidate trips.

  42. Mills says:

    I turned down a job with a forty minute commute that paid 1.50 more per hour for one within walking distance of my house. I have yet to regret it.

    I bought gas yesterday for the first time since early April, now that my bike’s fixed, I think I’ll fill up again after the Fourth of July.

    Is there an option for “High Gas Prices have really helped me get exercise lately”?

  43. jsteelio says:

    I use to drive 7 miles to the subway to get to work. Since last Friday (Bike to Work Day), I’ve been riding my bike 2.5 miles to the bus station that takes me to the subway. That equals to zero dollars in gas and more exercise.

  44. loreshdw says:

    I’m not at ramen desperation yet, but the increase in price has stopped almost all weekend errand-running and no eating out at all. If the store I need to stop at isn’t open on the way home from work, it has to wait until a day when my shift ends earlier.

    And it’s a real killer to small business, I own a lawncare/landscaping service and the customers still want to pay $25 for a full service cut. I’m not talking a cheap service either, it’s mow, mulch instead of bag, edging, etc all on California EPA standards equipment (in IL). They expect to pay the same as the guy running undocumented workers with no training, no bond, no insurance. Just try to track down that blue pickup truck with 3 guys riding in the bed to fix the complaint after they leave ruts in your yard or knock siding off your house.

  45. Enola #### says:

    I am a relatively new car owner (just moved from NYC) and I’m sure most everyone does this… but it bears mentioning that during a tuneup my husband replaced a fitting on the oil line that looked a little iffy, and we went from 20 MPG on our Subaru to 30 MPG. That takes some of the sting out of gas increase for us.

  46. juri squared says:

    Yeah, this post needs a “I’ve changed my driving habits” option.

    I’m a SAHM these days, so I’ve stopped going out during the day unless I really need to. In addition, my husband has started driving my car to work because it gets better gas mileage and takes regular instead of premium fuel. So yes, we are feeling the pinch.

  47. camas22 says:

    I’m sticking it out with my civic until tesla comes out with their mid-range electric car. Check it out, http://www.teslamotors.com, the roadster’s unrealistic for me but i’ll take a rich persons subsidized electric car in a couple years.

    I’d rather pay the power company than shell.

  48. davere says:

    I’ve been a lot less likely going out to the local theme parks, etc and just doing stuff around my house.

    I’ve also had to cut down my volunteering, I can’t afford to drive 40 minutes several times a week anymore.

    I wish I could use public transportation, but it takes me 1.5 hrs to get to work, same to come back, and this includes 1 transfer and waiting in bus stops without any sort of shelter (crazy in the rainy season here in FL.)

  49. synergy says:

    @Jason: Ditto

  50. synergy says:

    @GirlGoneRiled: FTW!

  51. Pasketti says:

    I ride my bicycle to work most days, and only have to fill up once a month or so.

  52. rogue says:

    @GirlGoneRiled:
    where do people find others to rideshare/carpool with? I have signed up with as many sites as I can find, & can’t find anyone either in my company or in an office nearby to carpool with. I’d bike but its 24miles one way and 1200′ difference in altitude. any suggestions are appreciated

  53. vdragonmpc says:

    Because I work 2 jobs to support my family while my wife is in school ‘carpooling’ is not an option for that you need a close schedule with others. I see a lot of people saying how ‘oh its just a dollar per gallon’. REALLY? Could the general public be that dim witted? That increase in gas has had several effects in the market. Food costs more, electric will go up, taxes go up (yup gov has to buy gas too) my favorite was the schools not being able to bus kids because no one had thought gas would jump 1.50 in a years time much less 4 months.

    What I have done is when the cool Kings Dominion ad comes up I remind the family that we have to buy the gas to get there AND pay the insane entry fee, We dont eat out much anymore, trips to the beach are a thing of the past, grass cutting is done once a month ONLY, we dont go to movies anymore as they require financing almost, we dont go to the mall or shop at the retail stores any more… We became secondary market shoppers.

    When gas goes reasonable again after our summer vacations are over we may be able to do something but alas a cost of living raise is only 3% or a bit more a year and prices are way over that.

  54. Canadian Impostor says:

    @rogue: You could bikepool with Lance Armstrong.

  55. GirlGoneRiled says:

    @rogue: That’s my point. Even people who *want* to do it find it difficult b/c so many people think they’re schedule is so almighty important that they couldn’t possibly give up even a small amount of control, or wait 30 minutes for the carpool partner to be done.

    My SIL recently offered to take a friend to the grocery store, the bank and the PO. Said friend was all on board until my SIL revealed that she also intended to hit the dry cleaner and then claimed she’d be too busy to wait the 10 minutes for the SIL-only errand. Go on any budget-related message board where people talk about gas prices – as soon as carpooling comes up as an option all you get is “Oh, I couldn’t because I like to leave right at 5 p.m. and the carpool doesn’t leave until 5:20. I don’t get paid for those 20 minutes.” and “Sounds like a good idea, but my friend wants to get dropped at the daycare center and that’s two blocks away from my place so…”

    Seriously, it’s incredible how shortsighted people can be when it comes to short-term vs. long-term priorities. Shortsighted and incredibly stupid, that is.

  56. vdragonmpc says:

    Car pooling is simply not an option for people with mult-tasked workers. If I get a call from my son’s daycare that he is sick and I need to get him… How do I do that? A cab? What about when I have to go site to site? Perhaps I need to go home early or need to get something. What happens when you have a second job and need to get there and THEN home? Its not short sighted its reality. For some it works others that are mobile it doesnt. Me I would love to telecommute but many managers are technically illiterate and dont want to pay for work performed off site.
    Its not a one fits all thing.

  57. mac-phisto says:

    i chose “yes, i’m eating ramen”, but not solely b/c of the increase in gas prices at the pump. has anyone else noticed that food prices have increased drastically over the past 2 years? $100 at the grocery store stocked me up for at least a week prior to the initial surge in gas prices. yesterday, barbeque chicken for 3, with some veggies on the side was $50. one meal (actually 1 meal X 3 ppl = 3 meals): $50?!?

    due to this, my shopping habits at the grocery store alone have changed dramatically. i no longer buy cereal, snack food, premium coffee, fresh rolls, desserts, frozen food, most seafood, my gourmet cheese intake has dropped *sobbing uncontrollably* & i find myself choosing “save” over “organic”

    don’t mean to hijack the thread, but that’s my 2 bits. if i could quantify how much MORE of my money is being spent on gas these days, i think it would rival the amount i send to the tax man.

  58. MonsieurBon says:

    Gas prices? Dude, I run on vegetable oil. It’s free, and gas prices going up only increases the amount of money that I’m saving. Of course, around here, 99% biodiesel is cheaper than gasoline or petrodiesel.

  59. r81984 says:

    Its funny how gas has almost quadrupled in the past 7 years while the minimum wage is the same.
    Gas went up in my area almost 75 cents in the past 30 days.

    Anyways why is it with any industry where you buy in bulk the price goes down except gasoline. Our gas should still be under $100 like back in the year 2000 as the gas companies have no problems selling it or supplying it.

    Don’t give me that not enough supply and too high demand crap.
    There are no supply problems as I have yet to see any gas stations run out of gas.

    Its so obvious they are gouging, Why do the oil companies have the biggest surplus profit they have ever had in the history of their companies?

  60. Ponygirl says:

    It would be nice if you has a 4th option: “I am choosing not to buy gas” which certainly has different connotations than “I do not purchase gas”.

    The cost of gas has made us stop driving our car, we now ride bikes to work and use Zipcar for all our errands.

    I also notice that low-income neighborhoods are some of the first hit by gas cost increases. A few weeks ago the Shell station down the street from us in West Oakland had regular gas at $4.34 while in more affluent Rockridge it was fairly stable at $3.64. What gives with that?

  61. mac-phisto says:

    @r81984: the problem is that the market is manipulated by a small number of players that control all aspects of the market – harvesting, transporting, refining, & distributing.

    they determine supply AND demand, which is an anamoly.

    some day someone will have the balls to break those bastards apart.

  62. bohemian says:

    We have drastically changed our habits. Gas has gone up but food has gone up quite a bit also. The double whammy makes things tight.

    Gas does make a difference. The car I have available during the day gets 15mpg. If I drive to where all the stores are around the mall it takes me a gallon of gas for the trip. So right now it costs me $3.40 just to drive to the mall, Target, decent grocery store or Lowes. If that trip is just to get some cheese that is some spendy cheese with the gas added on.

    With a $1 jump in gas prices a tank of gas in the gas hog costs us another $20 per tank. When we were using it as a work vehicle for a business we went through two tanks a week easy. That is another $40 a week for every dollar jump. It starts to add up.

    Oh, and if we had public transit or even a way to ride a bike to town I would. We have no paved roads that allow bike traffic between here and there.

    I consolidate trips, use the small local grocery for forgotten items, wait until the fuel efficient car is available or simply don’t go.

  63. mwshook says:

    An emphatic yes.
    I’ve started riding my bike to work. (Thankfully it’s only 2 miles away, and I am used to doing sometimes for fun)
    I’ve stopped using air condition in my truck.

    I’ve started turning off the ignition at stop lights. Heck, I’ve started turning off my ignition at the top of hills and coasting into red lights.

  64. Sudonum says:

    @Buran:
    VW and other European car makers stopped selling diesels in the US for 2 reasons; 1) They didn’t sell well, 2) They polluted more that their European counterparts. The pollution is due to the fact that US diesel fuel has a higher sulfer content than European diesel fuel.

    Refiners in the US will be required, starting in 2010, to produce ULSD (Ultra Low Suplher Diesel). This will bring us in line with European standards. However look for diesel prices to rise when the standards take effect as it will require upgrades to refineries and additives to the fuel to replace the lubrication benefits that the sulfer provided.

    Mercedes Benz has a new line of diesels that should be available in the US soon. Other manufacturers, including VW, will follow suit.

  65. AndyFromTucson says:

    My family of 3 has averaged about .74 gallons of diesel a day (or 22 gals a month) for our Jetta TDI Wagon since the fall of 2004 (yes, I keep track), so even at $3 a gallon our fuel costs are about the same as our cable/broadband bill, and probably less than most individuals spend on soda.

  66. pediddle says:

    Gas prices have changed my buying habits — in that they caused me to buy a new car with better mileage.

  67. hoo_foot says:

    I do not purchase gas, but the high prices have affected me as well. I have made several changes to my grocery list because of higher prices and have changed my spending habits in general.

  68. I like how the city slickers here jump all over the people in the country who really don’t have the option to carpool or explore alternative transportation. People who have always lived in cities don’t understand that in many places there is NO public transportation, and even if there is it usually sucks. They also don’t realize that yes, a vehicle might get less than 20 mpg, but when you’re on a farm or out in the middle of nowhere, you often need a vehicle like that. They also don’t realize how rediculous carpooling sounds to us. To illustrate this point, I’ll describe a normal morning in my household. My father and stepmother get up at 3. My stepmother leaves at 4 to drive to work. She drives 50 miles northeast. My father leaves for work at 5:30. he drives 40 miles Southeast. I get up at 6, leave for work at 6:30. I drive 30-200 miles east/south depending which office I’m in. Carpooling is obviously not an option. Neighbors? I don’t have neighbors, and the only people within several miles are farmers who work at home.

    I’m not complaining about the fact that I drive a long way and that in a given day I may use 20 gallons of gas in my truck. I don’t care about how much gas costs me. I’m using my situation to illustrate that there are people who can’t do anything but drive by themselves, and they don’t need people to jump their shit when they post.

  69. Anitra says:

    I voted “no” – we’re still within our gas budget. However, we’re carpooling more, and we’re always looking for ways we can save more money.

  70. rogue says:

    @GirlGoneRiled:
    Girl I hear ya :-) when I lived in the bay area the only person I could find to carpool with me was a foreigner (ie not attached to his car by birthright like some over here are) he lived 3 miles from me but it was worth picking him up as we got carpool/HOV lanes. We tried to convince others to join us, (one lived on the same street as me) but they “couldn’t” as they “might need a car for lunch” – of course every time I saw them they were in the break room at the same time as me brown bagging it. My carpool buddy & I often marveled why we couldn’t find anyone to join us. We reasoned that it must be something to do with getting access to cheap vehicles at a young age leading to a dependency/attachment to them. Of course the HUGE land size of the US and the subsequent spreading of suburbs doesn’t exactly promote efficient public transportation except in a few inner cities.

  71. Bryan Price says:

    I’ve been in Europe for the past two weeks. I rode two cars, one a tax, and another a new friend who took me to a couple of museums. The rest of the time I traveled on foot, or on electric trams and trains. I still haven’t filled up the car for quite a while.

  72. catita says:

    I currently live in a suburban hell with no reliable public transportation, so driving is my only real method of transportation. My daily commute is 15 miles each way, so it’s not even possible to supplement driving days with biking or walking days.

    Since I have those limitations, I’ve attempted to reduce the amount of fuel I use by purchasing a fuel-efficient Honda Fit. My average mpg is around 35, which isn’t too terrible.

    Still, I don’t understand how some cities (hello Boston) and suburban areas can ignore the need for reliable, fast, 24 hour public transportation.