Summer road trip not so cheap

By Matt Donato
September 15, 2006

Do you find yourself waiting till the very last fume has been exhausted to fill up your tank? Well if that is the case, do not fret, because you are not alone. You, like every other American, can’t believe the astronomical increase in gas prices. And I am with you.

I recently took a trip across this pricey country, and my two comrades and I racked up a gas bill reaching approximately $1,800. That’s about 600 dollars each, unbelievable isn’t it?

We figured the best way to do this was by taking turns, which led to about $50 each, every 15 hours of driving. Considering we would average 8-9 hours a day (some days more, some less), I would be throwing up $50 every 2 days. And with my $1500 allotted spending money, that was not a good sign.

California was probably the worst state for purchasing gas, even worse than right here on the Main Line. Out in San Francisco we were paying $3.30 for a gallon of gas, whereas the Lukoil on route 30 is a steady $3.09.

But there is nothing worse than what we encountered in Arizona. Driving through the desert, running low on gas, we had to pull into this gas station where they were charging $4.69 a gallon; which, lucky for me, my buddy had to pay for.

The only thing one can do is just take the costly hits in stride. In some places you will get lucky and find some discount gas. I believe it was in Ohio (although the gulf coast states usually have the lowest prices), where we were lucky enough to get a few tanks for $2.55 a gallon, which is completely astonishing considering the usual.

There actually was this one hole-in-the-wall in South Dakota where we pulled up to a rickety convenient store where an old man was dispensing gas from a container stashed in his pickup. Now that is the new face of an entrepreneur. What a genius. The man goes to the nearest gas station, which was probably a good 5 miles from there, fills up his 50 gallon tank and drives into every population 20 town and sells his gas for just a fraction above the going value. Pure genius.

But fear not fearful commuters, there is a sign of relief coming. Hurricanes haven’t been disrupting oil refineries, and oil traders are beginning to relax their concerns over the instability in the Middle East. So, if all goes well, there should be a decline in gas prices within the next month.

I guess I just picked the wrong months to go across country, but oh well, it was worth it.

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Matt Donato

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