Four Ways to Cope With Rising Gasoline Prices

by Joe Plemon on March 29, 2010

It is starting again. According to CNN Money, gas prices are up 45% from last March and still rising. Prices may not reach the record high of $4.114 per gallon as reported by AAA on July 17, 2008, but people are nevertheless rumbling, “Gas prices are rising through the ceiling and there is nothing I can do about it.”

I disagree. Maybe we can’t lower gas prices, but we can minimize the impact these prices have in our lives. The following suggestions should help:

1. Adjust your budget.

How much money do you spend on gasoline every month? If you answered, “I don’t know” then you have just confessed that you don’t have a working budget. If you know the answer, then you must cut back on another item as you spend more on gasoline. Hint: If you drive 1000 miles a month at 20 MPG, you are currently spending $150 a month if gasoline is $3 a gallon.

2. Establish your priorities.

Non-negotiables in any budget are food, transportation, housing and utilities. How about eating out? Going to movies? Saving for that Hawaiian vacation? Driving a luxury car? Cable TV? Starbucks coffee? These may seem important, don’t get your wants confused with your needs. Take care of needs first, prioritize your wants and cut the ones you can’t afford.

3. Manage your miles.

Driving to work is a necessity (unless you can car pool…and you should if you can) but think of other driving as a luxury. Be selective and plan ahead so you can multi-task your trips.

4. Consider a more fuel efficient car.

No, I do not recommend that you go into debt to buy a newer car. However, selling your gas guzzler and paying cash for a more efficient one is worth considering.

Although gasoline has risen 45% in the past year, the actual increase in the average budget is only about $50 a month (assuming 1000 miles a month at 20 MPG). Face reality, make adjustments and enjoy life. You can cope.

How do you cope with rising gas prices?

 

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

LeanLifeCoach March 29, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Another big way to have an impact is to make sure you car is in good shape. A clean airfilter, correct tire pressures etc…

Also don’t forget your driving habits. One of my first posts was based on my personal discover of how much my foot impacted my gas mileage. I increase my mileage nearly 20% by “feathering the pedal”.

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Craig Ford March 30, 2010 at 1:29 am

Joe,
Since an oil and gas ETF reflects the price of gas people can hedge their gas purchases by buying gas and ETF so if the price of gas goes up they gain on their investments. If the price of gas goes down they gain on their fuel costs.

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joeplemon March 30, 2010 at 7:16 am

@LLC,
Of course! Any piece of equipment will be more efficient if it is maintained properly and operated properly. Thanks for the great tip!

@Craig,
I hadn’t even considered an investment hedge against rising gasoline prices. That is why we need these comments, right? 🙂
Thanks for a great strategy!

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joeplemon April 1, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Carlos,
You are right. We can be in control if we just make up our minds to do so. Some of the other comments added more great tips. Isn’t blogging fun?

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Monroe on a Budget April 8, 2010 at 5:54 am

I use cruise control when I’m on the freeway. : )

My family can’t do anything about the miles traveled for the forseeable future. Both my husband and I do work in the same town as we live, but we also have family responsibilities in a city that is 45 minutes away. Our miles have jumped quite a bit in the past few months because of that situation.

We do bunch up the errands when we can. But on the practical detail, we just compensate for the expenses elsewhere.

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joeplemon April 8, 2010 at 8:02 am

Monroe,
Thanks for the obvious tip that I missed: using cruise control on the freeway.

Sounds like you are being proactive by compensating for expenses elsewhere…meaning you are adjusting your budget. Of course with a blog named Monroe on a Budget, this is what I would assume. 🙂

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