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Gas Prices Have Gone Up, Now What?

As the senseless and heartbreaking war in Ukraine heightens, so do our gas prices. Like many, my family watches our dollars and it's been hard to pay double the price, which can amount to $20+ every time you fill up your tank. There is not much we can do about the price of gas (though I admittedly do stop when one station seems to have a better deal than most) but we can change our habits and save a few dollars (and hopefully the Earth!) along the proverbial way.

Carpool! Now that the pandemic is (hopefully) winding down, we can share rides and leave one car at home. Super easy and costs nothing. Plus you can chat with a friend along the way! Or, just ditch the car and walk or bike somewhere. I know that can be hard in the winter but warmer weather is coming. Keep in mind you don't have to practice these habits all of the time - even one less trip a week can make a difference.

Try combining your errands. Think ahead about your plans and chores and try to organize in a way that can get everything done most efficiently. For example, I often supermarket shop right before I pick-up Saturday night take-out (being honest here) because the two shops are right next door and I can combine the trips into one. Is there one store that's closer to your house? For us, we have two large and comparable hardware stores but one is double the distance. For this reason, I always argue for the one that's closer. Or, can you live without the item? Is it really worth the trip? Maybe sometimes it is, but I'm willing to bet that at least 1/10 times it's not. Remember to ask your neighbors if they need or can share something. I feel like people have moved away from this habit, but it's one that returned during Covid and I wish it was here to stay.

Worst case, you can always ski somewhere. Kidding. Although I do have a friend that skied down to the bar one time during a heavy snow day. It was quite impressive and then she carpooled with a friend to get home.

Just stay home. I'm not going to sit here and suggest you change around your work schedule and see if you can commute less and work from home more (though it's not a bad idea). I'm a student teacher and know that type of compromise isn't always feasible for all professions, nor do you necessarily want to rock the boat when your livelihood is on the line. However Hannah was talking about this trend the other day and I know I'm guilty of it too. What ever happened to just staying home (Covid quarantine aside)? You don't have to pack your schedule, nor do you have to leave your house during a snow day, just because your car can likely make the trip. Use bad weather, or a day where you're feeling less than optimal (that's today for me - I have a cold and our plans are canceled) to rest at home and save some gas. We don't have to be "go go go" all of the time.

If none of these options are feasible for you, see where you can cut elsewhere. There are other ways to help the Earth and also save money. Consume less meat. Cut back on A/C during the summer and lower your heat in the winter. Buy secondhand first. All of these small habits add up to big changes and they're pretty painless. It shouldn't be that hard to eat at least one more vegetarian meal a week (allergies and autoimmune issues aside) and I always find way better deals when I buy secondhand items. I recently upgraded my ski wardrobe through Poshmark and eBay for half the price. The thrill of the hunt and cost savings are an extra bonus for me.

My family has a goal of working towards an electric car at some point. Full transparency - I recently leased a new car and it wasn't electric. Like mentioned above, we are on a budget and had to find something that met all of our needs, price included. However my husband's lease runs out next year, and it's on our list of ideas. More and more electric car options are entering the market, which will hopefully lower the prices, make them more accessible both budget and infrastructure-wise. While electricity still requires fossil fuels, it's better than gas. And hopefully those fossil fuels will eventually be replaced by renewable sources of electricity, such as solar or wind power. Concord has a goal of being fully renewable by 2050, and hopefully sooner! Which means plugging into the city grid will be less taxing on our resources than before.

PS Did you see the news out of Starbucks? They are phasing out disposable cups! But you don't need to wait for them in order to act. I read a joke about Americans complaining about the high price of gas while letting their cars idle and waiting in line for $5 coffee. I had to laugh because most of us have been there! Turn your cars off, walk inside (unless you have small kids in tow - I've been there, do the drive thru), get your steps, bring your reusable mug and help the Earth. Or, just make some coffee at home!

PPS Some ways to donate and help the Ukranians


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