it’s a gas gas gas

(for those who subscribe to this blog – doing a bit of housekeeping, and it seems that a couple/few old posts republished themselves – sorry about that)

My car was almost out of gas. I probably could have gone another 20 or 30 miles after the light comes on, but I don’t like to take things to such a dramatic conclusion. I consider the situation to be getting pretty serious when the little needle is creeping up on the outer corner of the E. James was in the car with me, and I told him I needed to stop to fuel up. He wasn’t much in the mood for shenanigans, which is probably why things turned out the way they did.

There’s a gas station right before the on-ramp that begins the freeway part of my journey to work, so I usually buy my gas there. The gas costs at least 10 cents more per gallon than the dicey looking place across the street. I’ve always felt that with a little detective work, I could find a decent station with a much better price per gallon. Aren’t gas stations right off the freeway higher priced than those in neighborhoods? But desperation often finds me in need of gas NOW, so I tend to fill up there on my way to wherever.

We happened to be near my usual gas stop when the light came on, so I pulled in. Their pumps were closed. I wasn’t going to go to the dicey place across the street, so I headed off down the feeder. As gas prices get more and more obscene, paying even 10 cents more per gallon than I need to starts to seem like a bad idea. A shitty investment. The next gas station down the feeder has gas that is TWENTY cents more per gallon than my usual place, which is ten cents more than the dicey looking place. Dammit. James is like, just get the fucking gas, but now I’m like a dog. Determined to find cheaper gas.

I head into the neighborhood, thinking of a Shell station that is off the beaten path. I’m sure it’ll be cheaper than all of the places we’ve seen so far, thereby making the 20 minute journey money saved. You can imagine my shock and horror when I get there and the gas is five cents more than the place down the feeder, which was twenty cents more than the place that is ten cents more than the dicey station. Bugger. I could tell that things were going to get ugly if I drove to yet another station, so I sucked it up and paid the price. Had I been alone, I would have kept driving until I found cheaper gas or ran out of it.

I needed this app.

5 thoughts on “it’s a gas gas gas

  1. Curious Genius

    I know a guy who has a policy you might want to consider. Whenever he needs gas he puts $30.00 in. It would probably take him $40-50 to fill his tank, but even if he is pushing the E, $30 gets him past the 3/4 mark. He then drives until he is near E and puts in another $30. This allows him to fool himself that he is always paying the same amount for gas, $30.

    He studiously does not pay any attention to the price per gallon. He is a bit of geek though and can throw around all kinds of math proving that a .10 or even .30 cent per gallon difference in price does not make much of a difference in how much gas he gets for his $30. It would take more than $1.50 change in the price per gallon before he would really notice having to fill up more often, as he only drives 15 – 20 miles/day.

    He claims a lot of people let the price of gas add a lot of stress to their life that they really don’t need to. There is absolutely nothing most people can to to alter the price, so why worry about it? Of course you should consider fuel economy when choosing a vehicle, but that is a once every few years thing, not a several times a month thing.

  2. Conn

    The big boys (Shell, Exxon, Mobil, etc.) are always much higher than the smaller brands and the independent places. From my experience, Valero is usually one of the consistently lower-priced medium-sized brands. Ever since they expanded my local Kroger’s and added a gas station, I’ve been getting my gas there. Their prices have been competitive with Valero and since I have a Kroger’s card, I get a 3 cent/gallon discount, and if I happen to hit $100 in grocery purchases in a month, the discount goes up to 10 cents/gallon. The discount doesn’t add up to much really, the most I could possibly rack up is $1 in savings, with the 10 cent discount, but it just makes you feel better paying less for gas, no matter how irrational.

  3. One of my problems with gas prices is that I drive a small Japanese car, as I have since 1992. I have memories from not that long ago of filling up my small Japanese car for $12. Now, it’s $30 for a fill up, a mere ten years later. No other expense in my life has increased three-fold that I can think of. Not my rent, my car insurance, my car payment, my student loans…my salary. Groceries have gone up, and I have a cell phone bill that I didn’t have a decade ago. Otherwise, gas is the big turd in my monthly budget. And I only fill up once per week. People like my dad who drive miles and miles in a large vehicle spend upwards of $500/month.

    I realize that things are going to get much, much worse than this, and I’ll someday miss having the ability to fill my car up for $30. But we’re not there yet, and I’m not mentally there yet.

  4. Al

    I was going to post “Gas prices don’t affect me. I only buy $20 worth each time I stop.” (As I already did to someone else’s Facebook comment.)

    But I see Curious Genius already beat me to it, albeit with some inflation.(It’s an old blonde joke.)

    I have had the pump shut itself off at $100 before. Here’s hoping we don’t get back to that again this year.

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