Sticker Shock

It hit me today. I know all of you have figured it out long before now. I even received a set of cartoons from Bob about this particular subject and kind of shook my head. But then, I have been pretty much out of the loop since September as far as driving or dealing with gas pumps.

In the 70s – I had a VW beetle, which I could fill up for $3.25 of cheap regular gas. If I remember correctly, it held ~ 40 liters (10-12 gallons). Since I didn’t have a whole lot of income at the time, that was a lot of money. Even so – compared to today – I can’t think of many things that cost 25 x as much today as 35 years ago.

I filled up the VW wagon today. I am still staring at the slip. 47.05 litres at 1.469/litre for diesel. Given the exchange rate – for you Americans that translates to $100.06 US. For one tank of gas.

I mean, really. I knew in my head that it was cheaper to take the S-Bahn. Traveling at speed (140km/hr +) means less than 500 km per tank. Being reasonable (110-110 km/hr) would let me travel somewhere between 625-675 km/tank (filling the 60 litre tank without going below that last five litres). even at that rate – it is going to be more than 17E for fuel alone.

Even though I know a lot of it is tax, it still has me a bit shocked. I can think of so many other uses for that same money. Lasting uses. Buying books (which support authors with royalties). Buying yarn (which supports the Indie dyers). Even buying music (see authors and books above).

And here I was thinking about that trip I need to make to the UK next week. 2-3 tanks of fuel plus the ferry. The problem is that if I don’t drive, I can’t get where I need to go on the UK end. Which means that I would have to rent a car, and pay for fuel taking the price of airfare, car rental and fuel right back to the same range as driving.

But $100 (US) for a tank of gas? My Midwest upbringing has me shuddering in my shoes.

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9 Responses to Sticker Shock

  1. Angeluna says:

    When I lived in Europe, 80-90s, I can remember paying the equivalent of $95 -$100 for a tank of gas. I didn’t have an economical car at the time, but still, it was absurd. Add that to all of the highway tolls and fees and travel by car was quite expensive even then. But as you say, without a car you can’t get to where you want to go. Perhaps take someone with you in the car. That amortizes the cost.

  2. Pat says:

    Yep. These numbers change CONSTANTLY. And there doesn’t seem to be one good source the tracks and aggregates the data in realtime.

    GasBuddy does in real time, but just for North America.

  3. Linda says:

    I filled up for the first time in three weeks yesterday – my commute is only five miles but there is no public transportation at all in this county – and realized that gas is suddenly non-trivial and to be accounted for in the budget. It was $40 – the most I’ve ever paid for a tank of gas and it is only going to go up. I’m beginning to think about moving to walking distance of campus or alternate transportation but there are no bike paths or even bike lanes on the county roads – it isn’t safe to ride here.

  4. Margo says:

    Garry regularly pays A$80+ to fill up his Holden Commodore, which would probably be the same for my Honda Accord, if I ever filled it in one go (I have a A$40 psychological limit to what I will pay for fuel).

    It’s a shock when I think of what we paid in the early 1970s – I remember when the boys’ father was pleased to be able to get gas at 28cents/gallon at Fort Harrison ( Indianapolis ), which was a savings on the usual 33cents/gallon price!

    Hope you enjoy the UK trip, however you get there…

  5. Kris says:

    And, we complain about the price of gas. We are so lucky. I am so thankful I’m not driving to Portland everyday anymore (100 RT, at least 2 hrs). Will say, though, that I enjoyed my audiobooks. But, now I can listen to them gardening or walking.
    Hope its spring there, too!

  6. Cheryl says:

    We are up to about $3.60 a gallon here. I think of Europe and Canada and tell myself to stop whining.

    PS I am still relieved that my Prius is getting 45-50 mpg.

  7. Helen says:

    I can remember when we use to say,”Before you know it, bread will be a $ a loaf..”.if only the primary producers got a fair share!

  8. Cat says:

    Yep and here we think that gas/petrol in the US is cheap – yesterday ours was $1.46 down from $1.48 last week – and it can be as high as $1.63 in some rural areas and even more in “the outback”. Guess it is more expensive in some rural areas of the US too though.
    If you have to travel it is bad news – but how many (a) hop in a car and go a short distance without thinking about it when they really do not need to do it or (b) could use public transport if they got up a little earlier and then read/knit/learn a language etc. (I have always loved the true story of the Italian language class on the Brighton-to-London commuter train. It makes a virtue out of a necessity.)

  9. Beverly says:

    Agree about the price of gasoline in your previous e-mail – we have been
    paying over £50 for a tankful for some time now. It is a huge amount of
    money just to be able to drive 350 miles. Public transport fares are just
    as bad – I was at the train station yesterday and the price of a standard
    return to London is £199 (although there are some special offers available
    which are better, as long as you can plan ahead).

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