I don’t doubt the recent spike in gas prices has caused a lot of hurt for a lot of people.
What sort of drives me mad are the people who say things like “Well, we were going to go on vacation… but it will just cost too much to drive there because the price of gas is so high. So, we’re going to stay home.”
Now, OK. I agree, the price of gas is higher, and if you’re spread a little thin already, paying more for gas each fill-up is probably eating into your disposable funds. Maybe the extra $50 a month you have to put in your tank would have otherwise gone into your vacation fund, so you really can’t afford that vacation because you’ve had to spend more on gas.
But there are people – I’ve heard them first hand, I’ve heard them interviewed for news stories – that are claiming the driving vacation they were planning has become just too expensive, because the gas for the driving on that vacation will just cost too much, so they are staying home.
Let’s take a look at the numbers, shall we?
For me, the maximum allowable driving time for a driving vacation is ten hours, one way. Assuming an average travel speed of 60 mph, that means a one-way driving distance of 600 miles. My minivan – not the most gas-efficient vehicle on the road, gets about 22 miles per gallon on the highway. That means it will take about 27 gallons of gas to get to our destination. Right now, gas around these parts goes for about $4.30 a gallon, which means a one-way gas cost of $116.10. Not a small hunk of change to be sure.
But if I made the trip a few years ago, before we saw the giant surge in gas prices, I’d pay about $2.50 a gallon for gas. Then, the trip would cost $67.50.
So to take that trip today, vs. in 2004, I’d have to pay $48.60 more for gas for the trip. Both ways, that means the gas will cost me less than $100 total for the vacation (not counting whatever puttering around we’d do at our destination, but people putter around on an everyday basis so I’m not counting that).
$100. People are canceling vacations because of a $100 increase in the total cost of the vacation.
I hate to say it, but if $100 is really make or break on your vacation, maybe you can’t afford to take a vacation at all, and should have been staying home anyway.