Wednesday, January 7, 2009

2008 vs. 2007: Fewer Tanks, More Money, Less Miles, Slipping Fuel Economy

2008 saw 38 tanks of gas go through the Mighty Corolla, at a rate of one
tank every 10.08 days. This was better than 2007, which saw 41 tanks,
one every 8.54 days.

I also drove almost 1,036 fewer miles in 2008, primarily (I suspect) due
to my carpooling efforts with my friendly coworker. However, I believe
my efforts to not appear as dorky as I truly am caused me to drive
faster than normal with her in the car, so my overall fuel economy for
2008 actually went down 1.27% to 37.39 miles per gallon.

I spent $1,245.79 on gasoline for the Corolla in 2007, a 14.26% increase
in gas over 2007. The average price per gallon was $3.031, marking an
increase of over 23% (just over 50 cents) per gallon.

Lots of people said that high gas prices severely hampered their travel
habits in 2008. My personal experience of paying for gas is that yes, I
spent $155.49 more on gas in this one car during the year. Work that
out to a monthly increase in gas, it's an extra $12.96 spent on gas per
month for this car.

I have made this point before. If people are losing financial control
of their lives over an extra $13.00 a month, then we all are in trouble.

But gas prices are things we look at on a regular basis and some of us
track them extensively, and it's fun to advertise GAS PRICES AVERAGED
OVER 23% HIGHER IN 2008! In real numbers, this is not nearly as scary.

Everyone noticed people driving more slowly in general when gas prices
went over $4.00 a gallon in 2008. But I have noticed a shift back to
the crazy big SUV swerving ways of old now that the gasoline has dropped
in price. Indeed, my carpool buddy has not shared rides with me nearly
as often now that gas is "more affordable" again.

Our future President Obama has announced that he will continue to push
for better fuel economy standards and alternative energy sources, which
I can get on board with. But there seems to be more and more items that
he is declaring "a top priority," and I wonder how many top priorities
there truly can be when he arrives to deliver our change later this

2009 will be an exciting year in many ways.

I have refueled my first tank of 2009 and got 35.49 miles per gallon. I
blame bad weather.

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