Finding the Silver Lining Behind the Gas Prices

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

There's not much that would make me happier than seeing a dollar sign followed by the number two at gas stations. I long for the days that I complained about gas prices exceeding $2 per gallon. However, there's little that I can do to find immediate relief, so I'm going to try to make the best of things. Other than conserving and complaining, what other choice do I have?


More Family Time

Like many families, we've eliminated unnecessary trips to cut gas costs. Our fuel uses have dropped to only the necessary: work and sports practice. Our grocery shopping happens on the way home from one of the necessary trips. Yet, there's a silver lining to this. By staying at home to cut on gas use, families have the golden opportunity to spend more time together. Likewise, by combining our trips, we spend time together shopping for groceries and other family items. I've noticed more family effort at meal planning, and we have less complaining about meals since everyone has some say. We also have a better weekly meal plan since we sit down to write out our grocery needs instead of undertaking the 'shop and go' attitude.

Less Fast Food

I can't save on limiting trips along, and the budget has to be cut somewhere else. We've cut back on eating out. First of all, we have to drive to eat out, and we've cut excessive trips in the car. Second of all, we're spending more time at home, so we have more time to prepare meals at home. Finally, we plainly decided to limit our pizza deliveries and hoagie stops. The extra money went into the gas fund. Eating out is expensive when it adds up. True, a $15 dinner of hoagies after sports practice isn't bad, but a week's worth of dinners this way is the equivalent of my entire grocery bill for the week. Add in fast food lunches and a daily coffee stop and I've almost doubled my grocery bill. My at home meals average under $10 per meal with leftovers for lunch the next day. We've made a healthier, cheaper decision.


Less Shopping

Before the gas hike, we usually drove into town to shop at the department stores on a rainy Saturday. Now, it's not worth the trip. The bright side of this is fairly obvious; we save even more money by avoiding unnecessary shopping. Shopping for the sake of something to do is a bad habit; we buy things we don't need because we see them. No more hours are wasted commuting to and walking around stores only to purchase items that we didn't need. Instead, we find better family activities to do at home like family and movie time.

Overall Benefits

After cutting back on driving time and adjusting my fuel budget to the best of my ability, there's not much else I can do but look for the silver lining. It's not acceptance of the exorbitant gas prices; it's making the best of the situation at hand. When gas prices show consumer relief, we can learn from our lessons during this crisis. Rather than return to our original driving habits, learn the lessons from cutting back and save even more later. Less driving is better for the family, better for the environment, and better for the pocketbook.


Editor's Note: What "silver linings" have you and your family found because of the higher gas prices?

Finding the Silver Lining Behind the Gas Prices
June 11, 20080 found this helpful

I filled my gas tank the other day. When I recorded the amount and mileage, I realized that I had gone almost 2.5 weeks without filling up (all those saved and combined trips). But best of all, my MPG went up by 2 miles. I guess all those 'short' trips here and there were eating into my MPG more than I thought. Still, $3.85 a gallon is a killer for us fixed income folks.

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June 11, 20080 found this helpful

Smile and remember how the rest of the world lives. In Japan we're paying about $8 a gallon now. Of course, we have the advantage of public transportation and being near enough things to be able to ride bicycles or walk-- this is making me get plenty of exercise!

Cantate in Tokyo

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June 11, 20080 found this helpful

I find my husband and I are spending more time at home. Lots of projects are getting done! Combining trips and only buying neccessary items has helped us put a little extra aside{ what doesn't go in the gastank} Had a nice yard sale. Never would have had time for it with all the running we used to do.

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June 11, 20080 found this helpful

I for one and several of my customers and friends are taking to two wheels. As the lady from China can tell you scooters have been around a long time. They are not that expensive even as a second vehicle. They now come with little trunks and most roads have bike paths built in so you can ride the line if your afraid to ride in the middle until you get use to it. I figure it this way. If I were to use the scooter just for riding back and forth to work it would pay for itself over the course of say 6 months.I don't know about you, but most cars take up to five years to pay off. I'd say its a good alternative.

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June 12, 20080 found this helpful

And be sure you wear a helmet, long sleeves and long pants if you are on a scooter! If you fall off, which of course you will not do, the long sleeves/pants will get the scrapes instead of your skin! (Source: experience!)

Cantate in Tokyo (Japan)

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June 14, 20080 found this helpful

My husband and I bought Kymco scooters last August, and I think they have already paid for themselves in gas. Mine is a very cute light blue and brown People 50; it goes about 45 mph and gets 100 mpg. The tank holds about 1.5 gallons and does take premium gas, but only costs about $7 to fill up. Not only do I save money on gas and help reduce my effect on the environment - it is GREAT FUN to ride! Make sure to purchase a DOT/SNELL approved helmet, armored jacket and gloves, and wear appropriate footwear. Visit and for more stories of women on scooters!

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