Sunday, June 15, 2008

just go get a better car

In Sept of 2005, I wrote, (sarcastically, of course,) "So, gas is three dollars a gallon in the US. Of course, Europeans have been paying the equivalent of over five dollars a gallon for years, but everything's closer together in Europe, so it really doesn't matter."

Today, gas is over $4 a gallon in the US, and climbing. I read that gas is about $8.67 in France.

Also in Sept, 2005, I wrote, more seriously, "When today's cars become prohibitively expensive to repair in ten years, what will people of 'lesser means' drive?"

Today I'm hearing more and more stories about people not being able to afford the gas to drive to work and back. Let's say your car gets 30 MPG and you live 30 miles from work. In Sept '05, when gas was $3 a gallon, it cost you about $120 a month to commute to work. Today it would cost you about $160 a month, or $40 more. Are you getting at least $40 per month more than you did in '05?

Now consider a single mom who also drives 30 miles to work, but she drives an old clunker that gets 15 MPG. In '05 it cost her $240 a month, and now it costs her $320 - eighty dollars a month more. Let's just hope her boss gave her a big raise recently to help her cover her transportation costs. (By the way, in Sept '04 it cost her about $86.50 a month for gas.)

So what's the mom to do? Well, she can find a job closer to home. Or she can move her family closer to her work. Or she can trade her old clunker in for a more cost-effective hybrid car that gets 50 MPG.

Or CAN she?



Anonymous phantasmix said...

Why isn't she able to move closer to work?

That seems to me like the cheapest and easiest option.

Monday, June 16, 2008 11:36:00 PM  
Blogger The Sarcasticynic said...

In many cases, the paying jobs are in the city, which is also where the highest housing costs are. This is specially true in California. Outside the big city, where housing is more affordable, jobs may not pay enough. It's a Catch 22.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008 5:06:00 AM  
Blogger The Sarcasticynic said...

In addition, consider the costs of relocating.

This situation has caught many by surprise. The hypothetical woman in this post saw her gas costs rise from $86.50 a month to $320 in four short years.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008 5:28:00 AM  
Anonymous phantasmix said...

I didn't say no sacrifices would be needed, but she could get a smaller place for the same amount of money as she was paying in the suburb.

Also, moving can be done cheaply with friends' help. We actually moved a lot of our small stuff using public transit over 2 weeks. And our friends helped us move the big stuff on the last day.

I don't know. I think there are workarounds, you just have to be willing to go without some things.

It's a choice we all make. I dislike living in the downtown as much as the next person. I'd rather live in a bigger place, have a yard, and breathe clean air but I don't want a car and the headaches attached to it.

It's really not that simple. Of course there are situations without clear answers.

I recently saw an episode of some show where Mom with 2 kids lived in their car because Dad died from cancer and their medical bills bankrupted them. I was watching and thinking - WHY do it? You have the car, why not just drive down to Mexico? You don't need much $ to survive there and their climate is nice. Go there, rest for a bit, get your head in order after the trauma, you know...

Trying to say: there can be all sorts of options.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger The Sarcasticynic said...

Well said, phantasmix. And I sure have sympathy for those who lose all they have due to exorbitant health care costs. If you can find a cure for THAT ...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008 4:05:00 PM  

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