http-equiv='refresh'/> Tin TeePee/Log Cabin: Gas Prices, What Can You Do?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Gas Prices, What Can You Do?

Of the several blogs I read almost every day, Lynnae, who writes had some comments about the prices of gas and gas station practices that hit home. She states that her family is trying hard not to leave their small town for items that would be less expensive in the next larger town. Lynnae mentions gas stations that are charging a much higher price for credit and debit cards versus cash.

We live 22 miles from a small Montana town of 1500 people. There is nothing but beautiful scenery and ranches in that 22 miles, no gas station and no grocery store. In the days before $4/gallon gas, we thought nothing of heading to town for lunch and to pick up one item at the grocery store, (a very small, expensive IGA grocery store). Now, we try to consolidate our trips and go once a week if that. To do any major shopping such as Costco or larger chain grocery stores, it is 105 miles one way. We were accustomed to heading to the town of 100,000 about every two weeks or more often depending on our whims. Now, we are trying to lump two days of errands into one and going to the larger city once a month or every six weeks.

And, as if paying $4/gallon for gas weren't enough, the pumps in many stations cut off when they reach $75. One of our vehicles which I might add is sitting still a major portion of the time, has a 37 gallon tank--now do the math--can I fill this truck for $75??? When I have questioned gas station attendants, I am told "it is your credit card." NOT!! When I asked this same clerk if I came into the convenience store and purchased $100 worth of food and other items would the cash register cut my credit card off at $75 and of course the answer was "of course not." I was successful in changing this practice at one of our local gas stations in our little town--but I think they even have gone to a $100 limit on their pumps to limit their liability for drive offs. Here in Montana, we have not noticed the practice of charging more for credit purchased gas, yet.

So what do we do?? Moving doesn't seem to be very much of a choice--we love where we live, Michael was raised in this valley and our home and land have no mortgage. Buying a new vehicle may seem like an option but if you do the math, it really isn't cost effective for us. We own a 2000 Ford Explorer that gets an average of 24/mpg. This vehicle costs us $7500 and we paid cash. People we know have rushed out to buy new hybrid vehicles costing $25,000. At $4/gallon gas it will take a very long time as in 15 plus years to recoup the cost of that new vehicle, depending on your annual mileage.

For now, we are cutting back on the trips we make anywhere, we have almost stopped eating out entirely and we are trying to buy groceries in a more budget frame of mind.

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