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

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A trip to the gas station

It has been five weeks since we last put gas in the wife's car. We only drive the car now for special errands, which most often happen on the weekend. The wife has become adept at arranging quick trips to the market or Michaels or Chipotle's on the way home. She gets off one No. 82, does her quick trip and catches the next No. 82.

Yesterday, the wife had to drive to South Sacramento for a state promotion exam and today she had a half-dozen errands to do while I watched the Euro 2008 games. Those trips drained the last of the gas.

During halftime in the Germany-Poland match I drove to our neighborhood Safeway to fill the tank. As I placed the hose in the car and opened the nozzle, a huge, black Lincoln Navigator pulled up to the pump behind me. By the time the hose nozzle clicked shut in my car, the driver of the Navigator hadn't even started pumping. It must be a very painful experience to fill up a Lincoln Navigator today. This guy was certainly in no hurry.

The total damage for 10.381 gallons: $45.56. Since the last fill-up, we had driven the Honda Civic hybrid 443.2 miles, or a shade more than 42.69 mpg.

Clearly, taking the bus and light rail saves a lot of money. The only remaining argument against using transit is the extra time it takes to reach your destination. Personally, the time I get to read books on the bus and the lack of stress from not having to deal with commute traffic has always more than compensated for the extra time. Today, with gasoline well past $4 a gallon on its way to $5 a gallon, people like the owner of that black Lincoln Navigator must be sorely pressed to justify continuing to drive.

Sacramento Regional Transit needs to press its advantage. Every bus that doesn't already have an ad on it, should have a "house ad" reminding drivers that they are missing a good deal.


pitch said...

I spent 55 dollars filling up my Ford Ranger pick up a couple weeks ago. It was the first time I put gas into it in nearly 6 months. I've been taking transit when I could and using the company car other times. That 55 dollars (probably 15 gallons at the time) will last me probably another 2 months I hope. I suppose I'm fortunate cause while it's a truck, it's rather small and gets 28-30mpg. I'm definitely looking at a new vehicle if gas prices get worse and I have to start driving more. Although if it gets too bad I'll just move to where I can take public transit all the time.

The Derek said...

I'm pretty sure that gas is getting to the point that the time saved by driving doesn't outweigh the amount of hours people have to work just to fill up their tank. Gas has gotton to the point for me that I'm better off without a job than driving to it!