Can We Break Off Our Gasoline Dependency?

Forget about the price of eggs, milk or diapers, what’s been really on my mind lately is the price of gas these days.

As I saw the price of gasoline continue to go up through the winter and now spring, I always thought “I can’t imagine how bad it will be this summer.” Summer is more than a month and a half away and it’s shaping to be pretty ugly. The price of a gallon of gasoline hit $3.62. Here, in this little tiny town of 9,000 in South Eastern Wisconsin.

This afternoon it hit me: I feel out of control. I know I can do something to make an impact on how much grocery prices affect me: I can eat less, cook more from scratch. I can use coupons; I can shop sales. But what can I really do to make an impact on how much we spend every month on transportation? Not very much, I think.

Some of the advice out there we are already doing: use cruise control, get rid of the junk in the trunk, keep within speed limit, change oil, keep tires inflated, combine errands, etc. What is the next thing to do: cut back on driving? and here is where I feel we are stumped. With the summer upon us, especially if you have had the winter we had, it is natural to feel the need to be out and about: take the kids to the park, to the pool, just be out enjoying the weather.

I feel I am not the only one biting my lower lip every time I stop by the pump. I think the majority of people feel powerless as far as this expense goes. I guess as the price hits $4 per gallon I will cut back and stay home two out of the five days of the week. I have always wondered, back at my last job there were people who drove 50 miles to get to work every day and 50 miles back. These people took on such long commutes because housing was cheaper as they moved more into the ex-burbs. How are these people coping today with housing prices slumping and gas prices through the roof? Do you know an extreme commuter? If so, how are they managing this expense?