Saturday, June 21, 2008

Oakland Expedition #5: Buying Gas

I don't know about where you are, but the cheap gas here is $4.55 a gallon. I filled up my tank today and was pleased it was only $50. But here's the thing, my cost of gas comes out to about $20 a week. Before I left Nashville, when gas was $3.50 a gallon, I spent about $20 a week on gas. When I was in college and gas was a buck something, I spent about $20 a week on gas. Maybe this is why the rising costs of fuel at the pump don't really bother me. (The rising cost of everything else, a direct result of fuel increases, does bother me.)

I think it's kind of neat that my gas costs have stayed the same, that as prices go up, my use just goes down. I suppose this is part of the general idea. And I can't really credit the cost of gas with the change in my usage. Rather, it's my change in location. In the Bay Area, I drive to see my friends and maybe to the store or BART if I know I'll need to carry a lot or don't want to walk after dark. In Nashville, once I finally got a car, I drove to some stores, to bowling once or twice a week, and to school when I felt like it. But in college, I pretty much had to drive everywhere except to class. I drove to work everyday. I drove to go shopping. I drove to see my family. I drove for frozen custard. I drove with my friends. I drove just to drive.

Realizing how important location is to how much I drive, I have one real hope from the fuel price increases: That cities will improve their public transportation so that it's feasible to actually rely on and use it. That's an area where the Bay Area has things on lock. Milwaukee's pretty good, too. But Waukesha and Nashville, ugh.

One of the best parts of the Bay Area is that the cities and counties realize that people commute from outside. Someone may live in Contra Costa county and work in SF. The transport is built to help accommodate this. While there may be only one or two BART stations in some of the far out places, the trains still run frequently and on time. That makes a huge difference. And one BART train takes you right to the city. Two trains to get most other places. Other neighboring counties and cities are not as together. That makes things harder. These are the types of improvements the transport systems need to make, working with each other. Except Nashville, they just need to get more busses and get them to be on time! Zambia has better public transport.

It's a little strange to think that I need to consider public transport options when figuring out where I'm going to live a year from now. But at least I've realized that at the beginning of the process.

(Original Post)



(Straight to Your Heart) Like a Cannonball - Van Morrison


Wendy said...

Boulder's public transportation is really good too. A fellow grad student told me he sold his car after his first year there because the public transportation was so good that keeping a car around wasn't worth it. Especially since students can pay just $10 a year and get unlimited free bus rides in Boulder, to the surrounding cities, and to the airport and train station in Denver (ski buses are excluded). I think Chicago has a decent public transportation (at least the train I am taking this summer is decent), but I heard some locals complaining about how bad the system has gotten the past few years, and the train stations are pretty yucky.

(Comment originally left June 22, 2008.)

goldenrail said...

Wow, Boulder's system sounds nice. How come all the really good transport is in cities full of hippies and pot fiends?

(Reply originally left June 22, 2008.)

Katrina said...

Londons got a good public transport. you mentioned Zambia so i Frigured i could mention some place outside this country ^>^

(Comment originally left June 24, 2008.)

goldenrail said...

You can. That is always good information.

(Reply originally left June 25, 2008.)