Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Gas Prices

So, we've all seen gas prices, right?  Hereabouts, the cheap gas is about $4.25 per gallon - ouch!  That's certainly not very frugal.  As I went to the Earth Day celebration, I started thinking about alternatives to driving.  So I did some math.  I like math.  See below for the results.

I did not look into the feasibility of going down to one car.  And when I calculated the trip cost, I did not count wear and tear, or insurance, or any of that, simply because I'm going to have the car anyway, and I'm lazy.  I believe the government reimbursement rate right now is about $0.55 per mile, so you could always use that.

Now, I live 10 miles from work.  My husband and I actually work one block from each other.  The ideal way to be green, and frugal, and simple, would be to carpool.  But we don't.  Why is this, you ask?  Well, school.  Our son is in school.  School goes from 8 to 5 pm (preschool).  So the drop-off guy (spouse) gets to work at 8:30 am, and the pick-up gal (me) has to leave work at 4:30 pm.  That's an 8 hour time difference, which drops to 7.5 if you insist on eating lunch.  Now, we both have flexible ENOUGH jobs that in reality, we could likely work 8:30 am to 4:30 pm on most days, and make up the extra by working at home.

But we don't.  It's so easy to work at home with a kid though! (kidding) Truthfully, in our industries, it would be hard to do that day in and day out.  I do that very schedule when my spouse travels.  But for every day he's out, that's 1/2 hour I have to make up the following week.  Consider that I work 40-42 hrs/week, when my coworkers are generally doing 50+.  Then again, I don't sit and BS in the lunchroom or in my cube.  I work.  And so many times my work folks want to have a meeting at 5 pm.  I always miss those.  But I digress.

Now that  you know why we don't are the other options that I explored:

1.  Driving separate.
2.  Taking the bus.
3.  Biking.

Here's the summary:
Driving: 30 min R/T, $3.25
Bus: 102 min R/T, $3.50
Biking: 90 min R/T, $0

You can see that the bus is about the same price as driving my car, but takes a LOT longer.  Truth be told, the bus involves a 26 min walk to the bus station (we are not near a very good bus line), a 21 min bus ride, then a 4 min walk to work.  If I did that round trip, I would be losing 72 minutes.  And it would not be practical considering the school schedule.

Whereas the bike ride is 45 min one-way.  50 if I'm really dogging it.  I have a mountain bike with slicks.  If I had a road bike and clip shoes, I could go faster, but then I'd be patching more flats.

Instead, what we do when we can is this:
I bike to work in the morning.  Spouse drives with his bike on the back.  I drive home with my bike on the back.  Spouse bikes home.  This saves one round trip in my car, and $3.27 per day in gas.  We each get a 45 min workout, and it's better for the environment.  It does take some planning though (must bring a bigger lunch!)

We like to do this 1-2x a week.  But bad weather and business trips do mess us up.  We did do Tues/Thurs this week, most we've done in awhile.  And we both have to be VERY careful.  Despite bike lines, we don't have the best drivers around here.  I will admit that in the afternoons, when I drive I am tired and not very attentive.  When biking, we have to be extra vigilant.

So y'all, what do you do?  Bike, walk, drive, carpool, take a taxi, do you get to work/school?


sara said...

we're hovering right under $4 here. We're very fortunate that my husband's job provides him a car/gas card-he drives all over our state so he goes through a ton of gas (yesterday he was on the road for over 6 hours!).
Because of this we just have one van, and during the school year I'm driving my oldest daughter back and fourth to school each day, and then twice a week I drive my other daughter to pre-school, so we go through a tank a week. I can't wait till summer when all the school driving stops!

Joanne said...

I love that you guys bike when you can! It's all about doing what's feasible and not getting too caught up in all the other details...otherwise you'd go crazy!

Anonymous said...

oh i love all this thinking about what is best.....the gas is crazy around here for sure and it is killing me. what hubs and i have done is this:
we have 2 cars-an SUV that sucks major gas and a vw that is great on gas. whoever has to drive the farthest that day takes the vw. it is helping for sure.
great thinking marcia!

Carolyn @ Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well. said...

I really like the plan you worked out. Great to build in a workout and get from point a to point b in the process.

Luckily, I work from home so I don't have far to go.