Friday, April 4, 2008

New Gas Prices Widget - How are Gas Prices Affecting You?

Look on the top of the blog for a new widget monitoring Tulsa's gas prices.

With gas prices as high as they are, my partner and I are having to make some real changes to the way we drive. For example:

1) I'm driving the speed limit or below at all times. If you knew me, you'd know why this is a major change. Nothing to see here, officer... ;-)
2) I'm not coming home at lunch to walk my dog. I had been doing this every day, but I just can't justify the cost anymore. The good news is that Wendy (my dog) is perfectly housebroken, so she's completely fine without a mid day walk.

Even with these changes, our cost for gas is still higher than we'd like it to be. I spend at least $100 a month on gas, and I'm sure my partner spends the same, if not more. Yet it doesn't make any sense for either of us to sell a car and start taking the bus, because we still need both cars. That's the problem with living in a city without decent public transit. We can take the bus in a limited way, but it still costs more to ride the bus to any given point in Tulsa than the comparable cost in gas.

Two major things have changed for us though because of gas prices.

1) We were planning a trip to Hot Springs, Arkansas at the beginning of May, but it now looks like that won't happen. I just can't justify spending more than $100 on gas roundtrip.

2) We're also contemplating flying to Dallas in June, rather than driving (we're going down to see Eddie Izzard - w00t!). Since we have my dad's travel privileges from his days at American Airlines, it's actually cheaper to fly and rent a car than it is to drive down there. Flying and renting a car, unfortunately, means that we won't get to go to Ikea while we're there and buy the dresser we wanted.

I know these seem like minor problems, but think of them in the larger context of the economy. If people like us, who are double income no kids, and theoretically have good sums of disposable income (though in reality we're on a tighter budget than we probably should be due to various factors), are putting off trips and not spending money in the economy because of gas prices, then what are people who are on really tight budgets doing?

How are gas prices affecting you?