Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Have you been watching the price of gas recently? About a month ago, gas was $2.89 a gallon where I live. Yesterday, I watched the price jump from $3.29 on my morning commute to $3.39 on my way home. Ouch. That is a 50 cent increase in about a month.
In February, I heard rumors of $4 gas by Memorial Day and $6 gas by 2012. (Do a search for "$4 gas by Memorial Day 2011," and you will get so many articles from media sources across the country, I couldn't pick one to link to.) I don't like rumors, but with the uptick in gas prices, these predictions may be closer than we realize. (Photo credit here.)
Remember in March 2008, when gas jumped to $4+ across the country? Transportation patterns shifted across the country! That's when SUV's became less fashionable, more people used public transportation and bicycle commuting started gaining some real traction. By early 2009, gas prices settled back down some, and people went back to their “normal” commuting lives.
It's been 2.5 years since that last jump. Will this recent increase (and the prediction of continued increases) affect you? How will you change your commuting patterns, if at all? I am fortunate to live close enough to my current employment that I can bike to work, but my husband and I still own two cars and fill up our gas tanks like everyone else. I wonder how this will affect disposable income of families across the country.
In Pickens county, the CAT Bus system runs FREE to EVERYONE. And, there are bike racks on the front of all the buses. (As a bike commuter, I feel a lot safer about my choice to commute knowing that if my bike breaks down, I am riding on or near a bus route.) There are several bus lines, and they connect the communities of Seneca (in Oconee County) Clemson, Central, Pendleton and Anderson (in Anderson County) together. It's the largest free bus system in the country, and folks are working hard to continually improve this great resource. Could you consider taking public transportation as an alternative to driving to work?
Check out the transportation options in your area. Is their a bus? Could you start a carpool or ride share at your work? Does your employment offer a Flex Spending Account that provides funds to reimburse an alternative transportation option like the bus? How about the Bike Commuter Tax Credit? If the price of gas continues to increase, having transportation alternatives to the auto and open road in place will be important to helping us all manage new transportation patterns in our own lives.