I know that someday you'll find better things.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Don't Do the Math

I fill up my gas tank every other Friday, and I try not to think about the cost. Try being the operative word.

Yesterday evening, it cost $65.02.  

Gas prices may rise and fall, but the price of $3.45 per gallon seemed like a reasonable average, until you start to do the math.

Annually, that's $1,690.52.

That's for a normal fortnight, just routine errands. Nothing special or out of the ordinary. The only big thing I do during that time period is take Mia to her dad's on visitation weekends, which is 70 miles round-trip. 

(How did I make that commute daily for three years? With an infant in a carseat?!)

Now, $1,690 a year is shocking on its own, but it's even more startling when you factor in other things. You know, like the tolltag. 

For part (not all or even most) of the journey to Mia's dad's house, I use the Dallas North Tollway.

Because the speed limit is 70.
Because unlike all the other roads, it is not under construction.

But mostly I take the DNT because no one else does.
It is a major time-saver during Friday afternoon/evening traffic, and time is money. 

Time on the road is gas money.

This one little jaunt on the first, third, and fifth weekend is a well-spent $40 per month, which works out to $480 per year.

Now we're up to $2,170.

Then you must consider insurance ($103/2 per month = $618/year)


Let's not forget annual taxes for registration renewal ($65) and the inspection renewal ($40). Plus how many oil changes, three? Probably $100. Three adventures through the carwash? Add another, oh, $18?

$3,011 each year.

Without a car payment.
Without repairs or even new tires.

And that's just ONE of our vehicles-- you know the Big Pig guzzles way more, which is why we try to use it less.

But let's multiply that annual figure by two, anyway.


That's twelve percent of our annual income.
Pretty hefty for two "paid off" vehicles.

Depending on where you live and how much time you spend in your vehicle, your situation might be even more extreme.

According to public relations manager Michael Green of AAA, whose interview with 24/7 Wall St was referenced in a March 2014 USA Today article entitled "10 States with the Highest Gas Prices", price per gallon is largely influenced by proximity to oil refineries. 

Generally speaking, the further you are, the more you will pay. 

Since there are no operable refineries east of New Jersey, the Northeast is particularly affected by this cruel reality.

On the other hand, we Texans have it good.

You know who doesn't have it good? These states, at least at the time that the article was published.

10. Pennsylvania ($3.64)
9. Maine ($3.64)
8. Indiana ($3.66)
7. Michigan ($3.72)
6. Illinois ($3.76)
5. Connecticut ($3.77)
4. New York ($3.78)
3. Alaska ($3.84)
2. California ($3.97)
1. Hawaii ($4.17)

The data and resources out there are fascinating. I could easily spend days immersing myself in all there is to learn and know about this topic. Look at these cool tidbits from the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge site.

Well, no surprises there.

It's amazing that there's only a five cent difference from last year, isn't it?

Meanwhile... Hawaii, wow! Four dollars and seventeen cents per gallon. Can you imagine?

Wait, don't imagine.

And whatever you do, don't do the math.

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