$0.00 Per Gallon

As I've mentioned many many times before on this blog I am not entirely car-free, but mostly. I feel I sometimes have to restate this in the event their are any new readers that happened to stumble upon this blog and are of the militant bicycle set, which I do not consider myself. Everyone has their own freewill to make their own choices, and I do not wish to push my lifestyle on theirs. But, on the other hand--and I've mentioned this many times before as well--I can't help but wonder if the vast majority of adults who don't use bikes as transportation (especially for simple little jaunts) wouldn't truly enjoy themselves if they did. And this is exactly what I was pondering as I pedaled past the petrol station this morning on my way to work.

I was thinking this because the price of gas locally has finally surpassed that magical number...$4.00 per gallon. Just yesterday it was $3.93 (at this particular station); this morning it was $4.09. Now I know for those in the EU and many other areas of the world this is still cheap, but to us gas-guzzling Americans this is over the top. In 2008 when prices reached this high people actually started making changes in their driving habits. The prices, if I recall correctly, peaked out locally at about $4.25 before starting to descend. There's talk of them going higher this year.

Now this next statement will probably make some people mad, infuriated even (but hopefully not on this blog)...I actually hope the prices do rise past $5.00/gl. I of course am not trying to send anyone to the poor house, nor do I want to cram my lifestyle down anyone's throat. It's just that I really believe if prices continue to rise people will have to make serious driving changes out of necessity. And this, I think (and nobody can disagree on this) will have a positive impact on the planet...and our society. And hopefully lessen some of the wars--current and future--which are all about oil no matter what name they put on them.

This evening I had a meeting to go to at church. It's been raining on-and-off all day...a cold rain. And rain is the only element I don't really care to ride in. I was not sure if I would drive or ride until the last minute; I also had to make a quick stop at my son's mother's house. Just before I left I walked outside and felt just a drop or two; the clouds were overcast and grey; a brisk spring wind blew. I hopped on my bike and made it to both to my ex-wife's house and church with just a slight dampness; I pedaled pretty quickly and the 2 mile (3.2K) one-way trip took maybe 10 minutes. On my way home there was a light drizzle (I don't mind riding in the rain on the way home--sometimes I actually like it--because I can change into dry clothes). It was still windy and the rain that hit my face made me squint as I rode into it. I watched the rain in the beam of my headlamp as I pedaled. Again, I pedaled quickly. When I arrived home I was only mildly wet but I felt good...alive! As I walked my bike up the plank on my porch I panted; it took me a few minutes to catch my breath from pedaling hard into the headwind.

I could have driven tonight but I didn't, though I will this Sunday when I travel to my sister's house--about 25 miles (40.2K)--for Easter dinner. I find it easy for most things without my truck. My bike(s) get me most places within the city limits nearly (but not quite) as quickly as my truck, and I can carry everything I need. I get a bit of exercise while doing it, have a lower environmental footprint, and most importantly (from a selfish point of view) I save money.

$0.00 per gallon (or at least close to it) is possible, one just has to make the effort. I'll get of my virtual soapbox now.


Dr C. said…
Petrol is about $8 per US gallon here at the moment (fun fact, a US gallon is a lot less than an old UK gallon). People still drive embarrassingly short distances though.

I remember reading somewhere that the average person here spends as much as the average person in the US does on fuel, it is just the cost that (slightly) restricts how far they drive/what they drive.

Personally I welcome motorists not being shielded from the real cost of driving