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How Far Have Gas Prices Driven You?

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Writing about cars gives me an ironic privilege: I don't have to worry about gas prices as much as the civilian driver. So when I saw this provocative, preventative measure against gas theft at a station somewhere in deep Lower Alabama (L.A., to you outsiders), it finally struck me--gas is too damn expensive.

With $4-a-gallon gas the reality across most of the country, drivers are taking extraordinary measures to use less gas and to make each mile count more. Since November of last year, drivers have been cutting back in dramatic, historic ways. In March, CNN reports, drivers slashed mileage totals by about 4 percent, the biggest drop since 1942. And the recent Memorial Day holiday saw fewer drivers than years past too.

Though gas prices are less of a worry for me, I make sure that trips count. I'm putting fewer than five non-work-related miles on cars per day and applauding the fact that my neighborhood is getting more pedestrian friendly. But other drivers I know are doing more--carpooling, cutting back on crosstown trips to see friends, and even putting movie and Starbucks money into the gas tank instead. Some are considering diesels for their next car; some are talking about replacing big SUVs with smaller cars or alternative fuel vehicles like the E85 Chevrolet Impala that's sitting out in my driveway.

What have you done to adapt to gas prices--and do you think $4 a gallon is the new normal? Tell us in a comment below.
 
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Comments (8)
  1. I live in New York (not the city part) up state and the gas price's here are 4.35 a gallon...And Diesel fuel is up to 5.15 a gallon......
     
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  2. Just had to get rid of a classic 46 foot yacht I've had for twenty years. It held 700 gallons of gas and, with twin 454s and a generator, used it! I could cruise for a weekend around the local islands off Southern California...or for the same money, fly to Istanbul and stay in the finest hotels for a week!
    When Al Gore wrote in his book that he wanted to outlaw the internal combustion engine, I voted against him. I've since concluded, he could have done me no more harm than the Bush administration has with these gas prices!
     
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  3. I live in central Florida, and current regular gas price is $3.89 at a local station. I drive about 20 miles one way to work, and my car is an '06 Mustang GT with a manual transmission. I have completely changed my driving habits, I set my cruise at 70 mph (the speed limit) and am not accelerating fast from a light. Put it another way, I have put my "ego" aside as I drive! I am currently averaging 21.7 mpg on my combined city/highway drive... I'm happy with that.....
     
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  4. Interesting comparison Jim though you probably would have lost the yacht under Gore to. That said I can't feel sorry for ya since, you had a 46 foot yacht! In SoCal no less.
     
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  5. I not only think that $4.00/gallon gas is the new normal, I feel that we will be wishing for $4.00/gallon gas over the next few years.
    As a result of the current prices, I have cut down on unnecessary driving, driving slower, consolidating trips, and "coasting" in neutral when I can. I was suprised at how much my fuel avg has risen since doing these things.
     
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  6. june 6,2008 since gas hit the 3 dollar mark I started riding my motorcycle to work everyday. I get about 41 mpg vs the 28 mpg that my taurus gets. Now my neighbor is looking to buy a motorcycle too. Please be more watchful for us motorcycle riders, the life you save may be mine.
     
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  7. I am a contrarian, and can afford to be, with my 1.5 mile commute each way (1 mile if I walk it, shortcut).
    I used to drive very efficient 40+MPG! Vehicles and then somewhat efficient (Honda Accord coupe 5-speed, 32-37 highway), which turned 18 this yea,r rusted out and I donated it to a charity. In oct 05, right after katrina, I took advantage of the then high gas prices and bought a "magnificent 7" BMW 740iL 98 for peanuts, which i still have. I have only put 10k miles on it since, and half of them were reimbursed at about $0.40-0.505 a mile.
    I can afford any gas price with any car. I will look for bargains among supercar-type V12 engines (maybe a Mangificent 1999 or earlier Mercedes S 600 Coupe) as my personal car, or even a more recent AMG Merc, or M3, and keep the BMW sedan in the family...
    before anybody calls me irresponsible, I am actually helping out reduce gas prices by buying these behemoths and keeping them off the market, because if I did not, somebody else would buy them and would drive them 15,000 and not only 3,000 miles every year.
    Think about it.
     
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  8. I have a 2003 Toyota Corolla that gets 32.5 average MPG (I've gotten 44 highway in this baby)
    My commute is 14 miles round trip to work. I work 10/hr 4 day work week. Take the bus to work one day a week so I only commute 3 days a week in the car. I combine my shopping trips with my work commute. My last tank of gas lasted me 5 weeks.
    When i fill the tank, I top off my tires every time (air is free at Giant). I've been turning off the car at long lights.
    Trying some other techniques..coasting slower to red lights and driving under 60 on the expressway. I've noticed many others doing 55 on the highway.
    My employer will pay for a monthly bus pass, so if things get really bad..6 - 7 dollars or more, I can ride the bus free to work.
    I've always driven compact cars so i'm not shocked by having to downsize. If I had to buy a new car soon, I'd look at the new Honda Fit coming..maybe even the hybrid Fit depending on the mileage/cost factor. I want a high mileage hatch car with lots of cargo space..no more sedans.
     
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