There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sticker shock

There's nothing like a trip to the gas station to focus one's mind on the opportunities of transit, limited as they may be.

The return leg of yesterday's trip required a stop at the gas station.

The wife drives a 2006 Honda Civic hybrid that gets better than 37 miles to the gallon and sometimes nearly 50 mpg. Sitting in the garage while I ride the bus is a 1999 Dodge Caravan with a powerful six-cylinder engine. On its best days, back when it was new, I was happy to see 20 mpg, but most often it was less.

I took the van to the Watt/I-80 light rail station, and since it had less than a quarter tank of gas I decided to stop and get gas on the way home. I was so engrossed with an internal debate over Arco's 45-cent ATM charge that I almost missed the final total:

Fifty dollars. And some change.

Well, that puts some perspective on the 45-cent toll.

When I got home I discovered the wife had been filling up the Honda. Her tab was $32.51.

This morning, waiting for my regular bus, I watched my neighbors rush off, one to a car, speeding to their destinations. I looked left and followed the car until I was looking right. I then followed a car going the other way. Back and forth I watched the traffic. Back and forth I shook my head.

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