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Remember when gas was like $5/gallon?

by J. Money on Tuesday, September 28, 2010

gas is my friendAnd everyone was freaking out and saying it was the death of SUVs and get ready for $10/gallon?  Hahahahaha….

Oh man, our society is so crazy sometimes.  I haven’t heard a peep about our dependency on oil in over 2 years now. (Watch, next week it explodes in my face and we’re back at $60 fill-ups again!)

But I will say that it’s good to think about all these “what ifs” every now and then. I mean, what if everyone was right?  Could you imagine budgeting in $80, $90, or $150 on 1 tank of gas?  I tell you one thing, I’d be getting rid of that Caddy ASAP.  The thing guzzles 16 gallons for breakfast – all premium gas too! Doesn’t even matter that it’s a ’93, it’s considered “luxury” baby.  Ghetto and luxury, my favorite concoction ;)

Some other things possibly worth questioning:

  • What if you lost all your investments in the stock market? Do you have any money stored anywhere else? Like a bank or in your safe or in your backyard?
  • What if your entire family lost their jobs at the same time? Would you be able to live off your emergency fund for a while?  Do you even HAVE an emergency fund? (please say yes).
  • What if you bought that $600 dress? Are you willing to cut back in other areas to still stay on budget? (There’s nothing wrong with spending lots of money on clothes or vacations or fancy iPhones btw, just as long as you’re saving in other areas of your life instead)
  • And more importantly, what if you could never Facebook again?! (I keed, I keed!)

Lots of things that may never happen in our lifetime, but all good things to think about. Even if just for a minute.  Gas may not be at $20/gallon now, and global warming may not really kill us for another 2,000 years, but nothing’s ever impossible in this wild world of ours.  Better to be prepared just a tiny bit than 100% caught off guard.

Which reminds me, I gotta start test driving Ferraris.  There’s a chance I might win the lottery tonight!


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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jeff @ Sustainable Life Blog September 28, 2010 at 8:35 am

I for one am very glad that gas prices went back down. As it stands now, I pay ~$45 for a fill up, and I fill up 2-3 times a week! Hopefully someday soon I’ll work in the state I live in. Oh, and I DID buy that $600 dress, and it was worth every penny!

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2 Rachel211 September 28, 2010 at 10:12 am

When the gas was at it’s peak my husband and I were both working. And commuting. A LOT. We had moved 40 miles out of town to cut down on the cost of the house we purchased (brought the cost down by about half!!) and we were spending at least $800 to $1000 a month on gas. Yes, that is correct. Now that I’ve been laid off and become a SAHM, we still have to pay for my hubby to get to work and it’s about $400 a month. We have already decided that as soon as one of our 10 year old cars kicks it, that we are investing in a used hybrid to cut back on that cost!

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3 MoneyMan @FinancialOdyssey September 28, 2010 at 10:13 am

I to am glad gas is cheaper these days. Paying $70 a tank really takes a bite out of us who only make $8 an hour.

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4 Techbud September 28, 2010 at 11:17 am

Filled up yesterday for $2.75 a gallon. I remember as a kid it being $0.85, on those were the days!

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5 Steve September 28, 2010 at 12:49 pm

I remember being able to fill up, pay with a twenty, and get change back. And I’m only 25. Less than five years later, with the same car, I think I topped out at $48 for a full tank.

My girlfriend drives a 2005 Civic hybrid and gets about 42mpg on mostly city driving. She spends less than $50/month on gas. I am very tall so I have a full-sized sedan and I spend twice as much for only slightly more miles. My fuel efficiency would probably increase 10 to 15% if traffic were better – I cover 30 miles on the highway each day, but rarely do I get to do “highway driving”. Anything above 25mpg is good for me.

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6 myfinancialobjectives September 28, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Man I remember when I always knew where to get gas for $0.99, like Techbud said, those were the days! I’m just glad I’ve only ever driven small, 4 cylinder cars (or maybe that’s me just justifying the fact that that’s all I can afford:))

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7 Becky September 28, 2010 at 8:33 pm

You “keed” about Facebook but it actually happened to me! I moved to China and in China Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and a ton of blogs are blocked by the Great Firewall of China so I did indeed lose facebook.

To be honest, it wasn’t so bad, and actually a bit of a relief! It was nice to disconnect a bit and of course I still had email and skype and such so I could keep in contact with my close friends and family.

But after 6 months we got tired of the limited internet access in general and got a VPN so now I can connect again on Facebook. Because I didn’t miss it as much as I thought I check it only once a day for a few minutes but it is nice to feel “in the loop” again.

And don’t forget gas fill-ups have always been that expensive in other countries. We like to cry about things in the US but people in other countries, such as Japan, have been paying $100 for a fill-up for YEARS! Of course the benefit is better public transportation which the US does not have now, but it is something to think about.

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8 Bobby September 28, 2010 at 9:44 pm

I sold my car last month and I couldn’t be happier! No more gas, no more insurance (the reason I sold it), parking, and thecar washes and oil changes are gone too.

To answer the questions though:

We have a tax free savings account up here, max we can put in each year is 5k so I try and max that out every year. I’m getting 1.25% interest, not much, but it helps diversify my investments.

Being single, it wouldn’t be as hard since there would only be one of me unemployed. I’m still working on my ER fund. I’d say I’m about 75% there with an extra paycheck coming in October which will really help.

No $600 dress, but my weakness is clothes and electronics. Once I get a hard budget, I’d be able to cut or there wouldn’t be enough for me to get by the rest of the month.

I deleted my Facebook in August some time, haven’t looked back yet!

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9 WR September 28, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Great post J.

I lived in Atlanta in 96′ and could fill up the 79 Oldsmobile (I have very fond memories of my ‘Ghetto Sled’) for .93 cents a gallon at the QuikTrip in Vinings.

Now I’m gassing up 3 vehicles & a Lawn tractor for 2-3 bucks a gallon but gas is actually cheaper now then it was then.

It’s all a matter of perspective.

We aren’t buying gas for gas’ sake, we are buying the utility that the gas gives us. Gas means distance. How far can I go on a gallon of gas?

My Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale got about 12 MPG (less when the A/C worked). A Gallon of gas had little utility.
My friends Toyota Prius goes 50 miles on a gallon of petrol.

It costs my friend a nickel to travel a mile today to his office at $2.60 per gallon, It cost me 7 cents back in 1996 when I paid 93 cents.

I’m pretty flexible now. If gas went to $20.00 a gallon, I would ‘drive’ my mountain bike and have taller grass. It would not hurt me one bit to burn a few more calories.

I think we are in a state of equilibrium right now. Gas companies cannot raise prices without hurting their bottom-line. Don’t want to sound too pessimistic here but in a few years when 100 mpg cars are the norm, gas prices will rise considerably in order to preserve profits.

It’s not how much it costs, its how far you can go.

-WR

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10 J. Money September 28, 2010 at 10:38 pm

@Jeff @ Sustainable Life Blog – I knew you would, you dirty dogg you.
@Rachel211 – Wow, well GREAT job on cutting down house costs by 50%! That is incredible. I would love nothing more than to do that myself – and finally starting up a plan for it!
@MoneyMan @FinancialOdyssey – Ouch.
@Techbud – Haha, same here. I remember one day it hit $0.34 due to price wars back and forth w/ these 2 stations down the street from me, it was insane!
@Steve – Anything above 14 miles per gallon is great for me! Haha…
@myfinancialobjectives – Haha, I hear ya brother. Nothing wrong w/ affordable 4-doors though.
@Becky – Woahhhhh that is CRAZY!!! I had read about China doing stuff like that but man, you have confirmed it. Glad you found a work around ;) And very true about expensive gas in other parts of the world, we have it pretty good – esp with everything else the U.S. offers (which people REALLY like to forget!)
@Bobby – HAH! You are the only one I know who has done that! Willingly! Haha… that’s impressive. Great job on investing like that too.
@WR – I LOVE Oldsmobiles! Or I should say OLD Oldsmobiles – they are so pimp :) And I like this “how far you go” mentality too, hadn’t heard it viewed that way before. So thanks!

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11 Rebekah September 29, 2010 at 1:27 am

I still remember filling up for 89 cents a gallon the summer I started driving. Of course, I also remember those $50 fill-ups (small car!) when gas prices were so high. Right now, we’re living as close to car-free as we ever have–going through a tank less than once a month in our shared car, thanks to living in a great walking neighborhood and commuting by public transportation–and loving it! I hope I never have to go back to filling up once a week.

My hubby and I dealt with the unemployment thing at the beginning of this year, when I got laid off (he’s a full-time student, only doing occasional freelance work). It was scary, but we discovered we could live on much, MUCH less money than we normally do. A good lesson to learn!

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12 StackingCash September 29, 2010 at 3:18 am

Juicy blog post :) Because of last week’s nice stock run up, I felt like I could finally get rid of my last mutual fund. As of last Friday I’m truly all cash. Hallelujah!

Money is in banks. If those fail then I’m guessing China couldn’t collect on the debt the U.S. owes and nuked us.

I think we have about a 5 year emergency fund if both of us were laid off or fired. We are striving for the 30 year emergency fund btw.

$600 dress? Probably not, but should live life more. It’s a tough balancing act to play and to save for our 30 year emergency fund :)

I don’t trust Facebook. I only got on it to claim my name. As much as I love the internet, I feel it’s becoming too invasive these days. I like my privacy.

I actually miss the high gas prices, less traffic and obnoxious SUV’s. However, it sickened me because I never realized how dependent we are on gas. Just think if all the gas in the world just disappeared! What would you do?

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13 Bryan September 29, 2010 at 9:01 am

One good thing about my job is that I don’t have a car payment, don’t have to pay for car insurance, car maintenance, and better yet, I never have to pay for gas.

The company gives me my own truck which I get to use as both a work/personal vehicle. . . .plus, the fuel to go with it.

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14 Suzanne September 29, 2010 at 9:14 am

I am definately showing my age but, gas was .99 a gallon when I started driving! Lucky for me I have a short commute (I work virtually most of the time) so gas isn’t a major expense for me today. In my twisted mind saving on things I can like groceries, dining out, and everyday items leaves more money for things I covet (like the iphone I paid $200 for), totally worth it!

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15 J. Money September 29, 2010 at 8:38 pm

@Rebekah – Isn’t that great? And scary at the same time? The fact that you can live on soooo much less but it takes losing a job to find out? Good for you guys for realizing it though, that’s wonderful :) Some people might never!
@StackingCash – Hah! I don’t know what I’d do w/out gas. Buy an electric car? :) Ride my bike and/or quit my job! haha… it is pretty freaky, you’re right. And I can’t believe you got rid of all your stock investments! wow, that takes balls. glad you know what you’re doing though :)
@Bryan – That’s a helluva perk! Awesome, man.
@Suzanne – Haha, that’s not twisted – it’s smart! I barely spend a dime on some categories, and then I go out and invest $500 in Kiva on a whim! haha… or on 80 new domain names or something. You actually have it RIGHT. Scrimp on the stuff you don’t care about, and splurge on the stuff you do! Ya gotta use money for something, might as well be toward things that you actually appreciate ;)

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