I drive an SUV, so these days filling up the gas tank is quite costly. (I know, I know, what a gas-guzzler, but do you know how many suitcases, sports equipment, sleds, bikes or skis we can fit in that thing? A lot!) Maybe this is the year that I will trade in my SUV for something more economical. The kids could always hold their sports equipment on their laps, right?!
My sister-in-law works in gas futures and last winter she predicted that we would see gas prices upwards of $5 a gallon by the summer. No way, I said to her. That just can't be true. She just nodded her head and said let's hope it doesn't go up that high. So now my fingers are aching for being crossed so long in the hopes of gas prices staying put. Sadly, it's time to uncross them because the prices are rising weekly.
For the past two days I have been driving around with the gas light on. Not because I was too lazy to fill up, but because I was practicing avoidance of the pain that I knew would be inflicted upon receipt of my, um, receipt.
Of course, I couldn't ignore the gas light for too long, so today I pulled into the local station and said fill 'er up. While running errands yesterday and today I found the station with the lowest price along Jericho Turnpike: Mobil. Thankfully, it has a covered roof since it was raining. I always feel badly for the attendant at that particular station. It's a busy corner and he practically jogs from car to car all day. I really am grateful for his assistance, especially on wet days like today.
So, I have a confession to make... Not only did I take mental notes on gas prices while doing my errands, I compared prices on all of the grades of gas too, regular vs special vs premium. I hope that my car service manager doesn't read this, but I started putting special into my car instead of premium. I wonder if that will be bad for my car long-term, but so far, so good.
Today's experience was a small victory... I found the lowest price on the turnpike and switched grades to save a little more. So instead of paying $85 for a tank of gas, I paid $82- whoopee! Saving $3 to fill up today made it (slightly) less of a pain in the gas.
Maybe it isn't worth playing around with gas grades for $3 less per fill-up if it brings engine problems down the road, but for me it is psychological more than economical anyway. Saving $3 a week adds up to $156 a year. It's not a lot of money in the scheme of things, but it could buy you a couple of moderate dinners out, or even a week's worth of groceries to eat in, take your pick.
By the way, instead of driving around town to find the lowest gas prices, you can find them online at: www.longislandgasprices.com. Simply enter your zip code to see the gas stations near you with the lowest and highest prices. There are other comparison sites out there, too. Just let your search engine be your guide. And may your next fill-up be as small a pain in the gas as possible!