Are Gas Prices Affecting Your Behavior?

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With all the gloom and doom of higher gas prices, a lot of bloggers are weighing in and asking what you’re doing to conserve gas… but have you honestly changed your behavior because of gas prices?

If you, on average, drive 12,000 miles a year (that’s benchmark mileage per car you should use when you’re looking to buy used cars to assess wear and tear) then you’ll consume about 600 gallons of fuel, if you estimate efficiently at 20 mpg. If you’re used to paying $2 and are now forced to pay $3, the difference is $600 a year, or only $50 a month. I know I haven’t changed though I understand if people do. $50 when you’re making minimum wage is over ten hours of work (taxes!) which is enough to put a damper on any budget.

Do you go to fewer movies? Do you carpool more? What about eating out or going on trips? Have you honestly made any significant decisions as a result of gas prices?

{ 9 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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9 Responses to “Are Gas Prices Affecting Your Behavior?”

  1. CK says:

    The thing I find “funny” is all of the people who are supposedly changing their summer family road trips.
    If you take a 1500 mile road trip in a vehicle getting just 15mpg the difference between 3 dollar gas and 2 dollar gas is 100 dollars. Are people really staying home over 100 dollars?! And this is an extreme example most people can certainly do better then 15mpg on a highway trip.

  2. LAMoneyGuy says:

    As I mentioned in my post, I estimate that between my Fiancee and I we are saving $24 per month by carpooling once a week. If we could get that to twice a week, it would be $48/month. Heck, everyday would mean $245 per month! Now, there is nothing insignificant about that. However, our schedules couldn’t possibly allow for that. Also, driving more efficiently buys me another mile or two per gallon. Based on my consumption, that would save me about another two gallons per month, or $6. It’s not that the increase in price has suddenly forced me to cut back to get within budget. It’s that the increase in price has risen my awareness of easy ways that I can reduce usage and save a few bucks in the process.

  3. I have walked since I was a toddler, never drove, don’t own a car, and think that when you buy a car or other type of product to use in your everyday life you shouldn’t complain because when a person buy’s a product such as a car it’s your responsbility to pay for what needs to go along with it no matter how high the price is. And because I don’t own a car and walk almost every I also use public transportation I am the healthiest person I known besides my mom she does the same as me.

  4. Catrijn says:

    Sort of. We recently purchased a car, and gas mileage was more of a consideration than it might have been a few years ago. Fuel efficiency was a major consideration in replacing a compact pick-up truck with a small hatchback (instead of the minivan we were considering in the same price range). We decided the capacity (which we need a couple times a year) wouldn’t be worth the gas usage of driving it all the time. What will be interesting is to see if we continue carpooling all the time like we had to for 2 months with only 1 car, rather than the occasional (1-2x per week) that we did before.

  5. When gas approaches $3 a gallon I tend to combine trips more, and stop at stores that are “on my way” rather than going out of my way to shop. Instead of going to Bed Bath and Beyond to get some kitchen gadget, for instance, I’ll wait until I’m out that way anyway, or until I need to go to the Costco in the same neighborhood, or whatever. Or maybe I’ll get a somewhat less swank but functionally-equivalent gadget from the grocery store houseware aisle.

  6. EN says:

    I’ll combine trips. I love my car, it gives me freedom to see the US and go camping (one of my passions). I own a Civic and get 37 mpg. On average, I burn about 26 gallons of gas a month. So it’s the difference in gas prices between $2 and $3 a gallon is $26.

    I need my car to get to work and do other things, so I’ll cut back in other areas of my budget. Fortunately for my wallet, Hollywood is having a horrible movie year (plus the ticket prices are too expensive, but that’s another argument).

  7. I really haven’t changed anything dramatically. I guess I now use it as an excuse to buy beer at the gas station when I’m there instead of driving to a grocery store where it’s cheaper (and other stuff like that), but I haven’t made any meaningful changes thus far.

  8. Matt says:

    The one thing that’s changed my behavior is that, as gas prices have gotten higher, the difference in price between Illinois (where I live) and Indiana (where I’ve been buying all my gasoline, due to the high gas taxes in Illinois) has become less of a factor. I mean, in absolute terms it’s still the same number of cents per gallon, but it doesn’t feel like saving much. So now, unless I’m going to or coming from visiting my relatives in Michigan, I just buy my gas in the Chicago suburbs…there’s a place only 20 miles from my house where I can still get it almost 60 cents cheaper than in the city.

    Considering that, in an average week, the round trip to Indiana for gas accounted for almost 15% of my total gas usage, this is a fairly significant behavior change.

    But there’s no way I’m cancelling trips or the like. And when I buy a house, the location I want will still be determined principally by the regulatory and tax burden, rather than by commuting.

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