According the the AAA Michigan – Fuel Report of March 17, gas prices in Michigan averaging around $3.26 a gallon, we can see the $4 a gallon writing on the wall not too far into the Summer. My paycheck has already shrunk this year when compared to last and with gas prices rising as they are, I am finding it difficult to manage my available cash to pay for the fuel I need to perform my job.
As a Retail Sales Representative, gasoline is one of the most important tools needed for my job. I can’t travel from store to store without it. The company I work for cut back on what they reimburse me for as of January 1 of this year, which added up to about $850 less than what they paid last year and that was with gas being almost $1 less a gallon than what it currently is priced at. So far, the best I can do to lessen the blow to my wallet is try to fit more work into each day, clustering as many store visits into a route as I can in the time frame I am allotted. I am finding, though, that it is not an answer to my fueling cost problems.
I decided three years ago, when I purchased my present car, that I needed the most fuel efficient vehicle I could find for the money I had available. I purchased my 2003 Chevy Cavalier, new on the “A” Plan with a trade in for under $8,000, an excellent deal. I have been extremely pleased with my bare bones car. Manual transmission, manual steering, no power windows, no cruise control, small and cramped…but I get about 32 miles to a gallon on my baby and I am more than pleased. With putting about 30k miles on a car a year, just performing my job, I definitely need a fuel efficient and cheap, but dependable vehicle to get the job done and this car has filled my need well.
My current problem is that I really have no other ideas on how to cut my fuel costs. Recently, two gas stations in close proximity to where I live, began setting a ash payment cost for their gas. Although the 4 cent discount per gallon is not much, it still adds up over time. I use about 22 gallons of gas a week; filling up at the cash discounted station, I save myself about $1 each week or the cost of about one gallon over a month. If, or would I say when, gas prices rise higher, I haven’t the slightest idea of how I will cut corners more. It does help me, at least psychologically, if I replace the gas I use each day that I work, at least I don’t think about it as much if I am only spending $10 to fill up. I try not to think about the fact that I am only getting a little less than three gallons for my $10. But no matter when or how I choose to fill the tank, I am still spending about $80 a week for what used to cost me about $50 and that is not counting the $4 a day that my employer took away this year.
As the cost of gasoline rises, I will continue to do what I can to keep my costs down. That includes keeping my car tuned up, my tires properly inflated, using my air conditioning only when absolutely necessary and driving the freeway with my windows rolled up. My only other choice to cut my fuel costs will be to find a different job or hit the lotto, so the cost won’t matter.