What to do about a most Inconvenient Double Hockeystick Graph?
I write a lot about the price of oil because it is the single most important indicator of coming hardship and suffering for those of us surviving on the thinnest margins. Those of us who are “scraping by” and have to go without other things in life to put gas in the tank, or work hard at a job that barely pays enough to justify the drive in each day, or those small business owners who are fighting to keep their dream alive – their employees working – and their deliveries and service calls on time.
I maintain that hyper-inflated fuel prices contributed to and certainly compounded last year’s global economic collapse. Yes, there were (are!) deep systemic problems with toxic mortgages being traded by Freddie, Fannie, and the rest - and the system had been failing (with warnings) for some time.
But the promise of oil prices skyrocketing at a dizzying speed well into the foreseeable future pushed the teetering economy off the cliff. Citizens and businesses didn’t know how they would survive in a world of $5/gal, $6/gal or $10/gal gasoline. We didn’t know how to plan for our future, so we did the only thing that made sense – we stopped spending money – on everything - including houses and cars.
It took a global economic meltdown to stop oil from reaching $5/gal, $6/gal or $10/gal in the US.
A few weeks ago I wrote about the oil-price hockey stick with a hook. Today I’ve updated the chart to include the last few months where oil continues to climb again at a dizzying pace.
So, what are you going to do about it?
I promise you it really is possible for you to spend 10% to 25% less for gas – while driving the same distances you normally do, without buying anything to add to your gas or bolt in to your engine, and without become a road hazard or nuisance to others around you.
The “trick” is to adopt some very practical and efficient eco-driving habits - and leave inefficient aggressive driving habits behind. You are leaving up to 25% of your gas money “on the table” when you drive aggressively, in a rush, competing to get to the next stop light, only to arrive at your destination in about the same amount of time.
You bought that gas with money you’ve already paid taxes on, and being thrifty with your after-tax money is akin to giving yourself a “virtual” pay raise roughly equal to the money you saved plus your tax bracket (around +33%). Saving gas money is even more satisfying, because those virtual pay raises are paid by the oil companies.
How much of a pay raise do you want to give yourself today?