Coffee heat rising


The dermatologist has summoned me to revisit her redoubt tomorrow morning — on the far side of the universe: south of Sun City, west of terrifying Maryvale. This entails driving driving driving…and guzzling of gallons of gasoline.

The tank was about a third full, which probably would have sufficed to get there and back. But I didn’t want to take a chance, so decided that when I took my mail-in ballot up to the post office today, I would buy some overpriced gasoline at the QT. And while out, run by the Leslie’s Pools store to pick up a replacement for a cracked pump pot basket.

Y’know…the last time I filled the gas tank on that car was May 14. That was two months ago. So that suggests the car used only a third of a tank of gas a month, under the Quarantine Regime.

The amount I pumped this morning — to replace two months’ worth of fuel — came to $20.30.

Now consider this: On April 1, when the present covid imprisonment began, my gasoline budget was ninety dollars a month! And yes, that is how much I regularly spent on gas then.

What has done this trick is ordering groceries, household supplies, and gardening products through Instacart and Amazon. For eight bucks, Instacart will make a run on whatever crazy place you please. And Total Wine, BTW, will deliver for “free.” At eight bucks a trip, two carefully calculated grocery-store or Costco runs per month cost you all of $16. Okay…$20.30 plus $16 will set you back all of 36 bucks…a far cry from $90 worth of gasoline.

What’s racking up that 90 bucks? Running around town to buy this, that, and the other at Costco, Walmart, Albertson’s, Safeway, Home Depot, and waypoints, whenever you happen to think of it. If instead you’re budgeting your car rides — by sending runners to pick up items from those stores and then using your car to travel to local destinations only when you absolutely have to — you could cut your gasoline costs alone by 50% to 66%.

But of course a car’s costs include far more than just gas. There are, for example, the oil changes, the new batteries, the tires, the smog tests, the insurance, the registration fee…and that’s only for newer cars that are relatively trouble-free. And it assumes you’ve paid for the damn thing and are not coughing up anything from $300 to $600 a month for a car loan.

What this suggests is that replacing your car with delivery services, Amazon (which also is essentially a delivery service), and ride services like Uber and Lyft could save you shitloads of money. Even if you kept your car, budgeting your rides to go only to places where you have to show up in person — the doctor, the dentist, the vet, the hair salon, the movie theater — would cut the cost of car ownership drastically.

It might even allow you to get rid of the car altogether. When you really need a car to haul something or go on a vacation, rent one. Otherwise…why pay to park one in your garage 365 days a year?

If you had a redundant two-car garage, what would you use it for?

6 thoughts on “Gasoline-o-Wow!!!”

  1. Verrrrry Interesting! ;o) I may start trying out grocery delivery since the car a/c stopped working a couple months back and I really don’t want to spend more money on my vehicle right now. I also don’t want to drive around in this sauna aka atmosphere unless I absolutely have to. AZ humidity may be bad, but deep summer’s humidity in the south is off the effing charts.

    • Yes, it’s awfully humid in your parts! As as I recall you have a whole lot more skeeters and biting flies than we do! It takes some doing to figure out how to second-guess the delivery service runners — they don’t have a clue how to pick out fresh produce — but practice makes perfect. Since grocery shopping is what I use the car for routinely, cutting out grocery stores saves a surprising amount of gas.

  2. What I would do with a redundant garage….

    The way I am in reality, I would probably just leave it empty.

    The way my husband is, he would fill it up with bicycle stuff and tools.

    Fantasy me, though, would get it insulated properly, hooked into the house HVAC, and would turn it into a comfortable, beautiful library. Fantasy me would also put in a rooftop deck/garden/hangout space while she was at it. (Fantasy me has more money and more willingness to spend it than I do.)

    • Those are excellent fantasies!

      Matter of fact, the previous owners used the garage as a potting studio — the wife had taken up potting as a hobby and they’d wired in an extra 220v outlet and installed a kiln for her. They also cut a hole in the west wall and installed a room air conditioner, which probably made the place more tolerable for a month or so at the in spring and early fall.

      So in theory it could be turned into any kind of crafts space. Or a woodworking shop. You wouldn’t have to do a lot of insulating and fancifying if you wanted to adapt it for that purpose.

      As it, two walls are lined with garage cabinetry (because the place has to hold only one vehicle). This supplies an enormous amount of extra storage, making Costco shopping a practical proposition.

  3. When I lived on the east coast, zipcar was a popular service rather than owning and paying to park a car. It was basically a rental car on demand service where for a monthly fee you could use a car on demand. The cars were parked all over the city rather than being congregated in a central location so that you didn’t need to go far to find a car.

    • Haven’t seen that yet. We had a bicycle renting scheme here that worked about that way. The sidewalks and streets were littered with bicycles laying around…that didn’t last long. 😀 I wonder what your car insurance would be like, with that arrangement. Because…it’s the driver, not the car, that technically is insured. The vehicles would be assets of the company that owned them, so…how would that work? Like a Hertzmobile…or would it be more (less??) complicated than an ordinary rental car deal?

Comments are closed.