At around $3.00 a gallon, experts are saying that the price of gas is not impacting the economy too much. We seem to be able to handle $3.00 a gallon.
However, does any reader seriously believe that this is it, that prices are not going to keep on rising? And at some point, probably sooner rather than later, this gas problem is going to start affecting the way we all live our lives.
This means that those of us who learn how to use less gas will be in the best shape going forward. Yes, we are going to have to start taking this seriously and coming up with strategies for buying less gas. Here are some ideas that I think are worth considering.
First, if you live in a city with a good transportation system, don't buy a car. If you have a car, sell it. You will save a fortune on insurance, gas and parking (which in New York can cost as much as what apartments cost elsewhere).
When you really do need a car, for example when you are leaving town for the weekend, rent one. In town, just use mass transit, and, if you can afford it, taxi cabs. You will save a bundle and help the environment.
Personally, I don't know why anyone who lives in Manhattan needs to own a car.
Second, another idea for city dwellers: car sharing. There are new car sharing programs creeping up in cities all over the United States and they really seem to be taking off. Whenever I am in Philadelphia, I see "Car Share" autos all over the place.
Car sharing works like this. You pay a small monthly membership fee and a per hour charge whenever you want to use a car. To use a car, you make a reservation, pick up a car at a usually close by pickup point (in Philadelphia, these "pods" are all over the city), and return it to another close by location when you are done. Hourly rates are low (under $3.00/ hour in Philadelphia, about $6.00/ hour in New York), which includes insurance. It's an amazing deal and you can save thousands of dollars a year.
In Philadelphia, they even pay for your subway fair to get to the nearest pod. It is unbeatable, which I presume is why this seems to be really catching on. Watch for this coming to a city near you.
Third, consider biking. I bike to my office any day that I will not be seeing a client or going to court. Its great exercise, it costs nothing, and its fantastic for the environment.
Biking is also great fun. It allows you to see nature up close. If you bike a route that you have driven for some time, you will likely see things you never saw when you were driving.
Fourth, take a look at car pooling programs. Many employers, states and counties have car pooling programs that are well established. You save a small fortune by sharing your ride to and from work. And you can also make new friends.
Fifth, also consider commuter van programs. Many employers sponsor van programs as do also local governments. There are also small bus lines that run directly from certain communities into larger communities, which is also a form of van pooling.
Again, you can save thousands of dollars a year and have someone to talk to on the way to work. Vans range from ordinary to luxurious, with plush seating and screens for videos, etc.
Sixth, evaluate location assistance programs. Many governments will help businesses relocate to places that are near mass transit stations -- which will allow the workforce to more readily use mass transit.
Financial incentives may also be available for these kinds of relocations.
And finally, if you are going to remain car dependent, then lets for once and for all stop buying those gas guzzling SUVs. Unless you really have 30 kids that you need to take to school every day, they make no sense at all any more. I am not sure they ever made much sense.
That's my list of gasoline saving ideas. Hopefully one or more will work for you. If so, you will be in better shape when gasoline prices go even higher than they are today.