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68 f*cking dollars

Yesterday I stopped in a local fuel station near my father's house.

The price was $3.95 a gallon.

Had I fueled up in Tampa (75 miles south,) the price is $3.83.

But being that I was up there and I needed gas I had to fill up where I was.

I ended up spending $68.72 - and that hurt.

I normally visit Pop once a week, but after having a long conversation with him about it I'm going to have to only visit once a month. With the prices as they are - and rising - I simply can't visit weekly anymore.

That's very sad, but what ya gonna do.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A news story on the telly said that "experts" say the price of fuel will go to six dollars a gallon within a year from now.

To put this in perspective, here's how the cards lay down for me.

I have an '05 GMC Canyon SLE 4x4 extended cab truck. It has the 4-cylinder motor in it. With the bed empty and a really light foot it easily gets 25 to 27mpg on the highway. If I'm heavy with the foot it goes down to 21 to 24mpg.

Full-size trucks on their best day get 20mpg tops and the average is well below that mark (usually around 15 to 17.) Almost all full-size SUVs are well below the 20mpg mark as well.

My tank holds 19 gallons and I never run the tank dry. In the most extreme situation I will fill up when there's about 2 gallons left, so that's a 17-gallon fill-up.

If the price of gas was $6.00 per gallon, it would cost me $102 to fill the tank.

That is NUTS to think about. A hundred bucks just to fill the tank? WITH REGULAR?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here's a small indicator of how I know most people are screwed when it comes to driving and gas prices.

The 6-dollar-a-gallon news story got my attention, so when I was driving home on I-75 from Pop's back to Tampa I practiced something I used to do years ago; set the cruise control to 60mph.

The speed limit on I-75 is 70mph.

I didn't pass a single car. Everyone - and I mean everyone - was whizzing past me. Cars, trucks, semis, you name it, it passed me.

All I could think about was the wasted cash these people were spending. Every single driver was wizzing money away by driving fast.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I started the 60mph "trick" years ago when fuel was at $1.75 a gallon in Connecticut (oh how time flies, eh?) I didn't do it to save money but rather as a means of convenience. The car I was driving at the time had a particularly small fuel tank (about 12 gallons.) If I gunned it to and from work it was a guarantee that I'd have to fill up before the work week was over, then top the tank off again on Sunday just to get my routine back in order.

What I noticed by driving 60mph (the speed limit was 65mph) is that not only did I have to fill up once a week instead of twice, but I was saving a crapload of cash.

The second thing I noticed is how many people stupidly blaze along the highway because they wanted to get an extra 5 minutes of sleep and now have to speed because they're late for work.

Here in Florida I do an additional "trick" that ticks off dumb drivers something fierce. The most fuel you expend is when you start from a stop. If you feather-pedal it on takeoff you use much less fuel. The drawback is that you start moving re-e-e-eally slowly.

Dumb drivers instantly get a bug up their ass about this and tailgate me so closely that I cannot see their headlights in my rear view mirror or my side mirrors.

Smart drivers know exactly what I'm doing. They see I'm not some old codger behind the wheel and know I'm taking off slow to save a buck. Soon enough they follow suit, most likely thinking Hey, that's not a bad idea. When each traffic light turns from red to green, do they pass me? Nope. They'll stay behind and enjoy the savings. I don't get the blare of a car horn behind me, nor do I see waving fists of fury from impatience. Instead I see a calm patient driver that understands that GAS IS EXPENSIVE SO SLOW DOWN.

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