Has $4.00 a gallon gas got you looking at alternative modes of transportation? Have you thought of making an extreme change to your lifestyle because of it? I might have gone a little extreme when I moved to an area that was walking distance to just about everything I need and bike riding distance to the rest. And yes, some of that was by design.
Before we made the move we did try one other method of coping with rising fuel costs. We bought a super-efficient diesel which has been great. One tank a month! After filling up twice a week, that car was a welcome change. I still have my big F-150 though. It is 10 years old, has over 150,000 miles and still runs good. It even passed the California smog check again. I don’t see a reason to sell it now that I don’t drive it but 200 miles a month. Note to self-Call insurance company.
One of the great advantages of living in Southern California near the beach is also the lack of air conditioning. My house was built in 1971 and has never had or needed air conditioning. The ocean breeze each night fills the bill. The downside is my home doesn’t use enough electricity for Solar to make sense.
So I have been looking at ways to use less liquid fuel and more electricity. I started by looking at Neighborhood Electric Vehicles or NEV’s and then a few of the smaller electric cars like the Nissan Leaf. Of course you can’t think electric and practical unless you consider the couple of Hybrids that have plug in kits. Even the Chevy Volt started to look interesting. Just think of it, free electricity means free fuel to drive up to 60 miles per day*
Then I saw the price. This is one of those hard pills to swallow. I have the opportunity to go off the grid with solar panels and a few batteries in my house. To even remotely justify it, I need something that consumes a few more electrons. My Ford F-150 is paid for and probably worth ten grand on a really good day in front of a gas station with a $2 a gallon special. The Nissan Leaf with Tax, Title and license was over 35 grand and pushing 40! I couldn’t believe that it cost $40 Grand for something that was basically the electric version of the $10,000 Versa.
So I am looking at this equation a little confused. $4 a gallon is about $100 a tank in my big roomy F-150. $25,000 cash today out of my pocket to save $100 every two weeks? Even when I filled up twice a week, that $25,000 is 62 months (yup more than 5 years) worth of gas that I have to pay for today! If you think about the interest you could make on $25,000 in a savings account there is bound to be another tankful in there. And, did I mention the $32,500 quote I got for my Solar Panels?
Do you have any questions why you don’t see solar panels on every house and an electric car in every garage? Al Gore was a little off when he said we needed to raise gas prices fifty cents a gallon to help justify new technology, we need to raise gas prices fifty dollars a gallon to justify new technology.
As prices come down, I will re-think my drive time vehicle. For now, I’ll stick to my old reliable F-150, unless of course someone wants to leave an electric car in my drive way for me to test……
*Actual range of your electric vehicle will vary (Editors Note – Say What?)