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When Is Gas Considered A Luxury?

So at what point is gas considered a luxury good, and if not now, then when should we think of it as one?

High gas prices

Where I live, gas is at $4.00 a gallon, and I started wondering what would the monthly cost be if the price continues to climb.  So below is some quick numbers that I put together in a spreadsheet to compare projected cost of gas prices in the near future.

I chose the $4 (current), $6 (some project this rate for this or next year), and $9  level  just for a good contrast.

DayMiles/DayGas Price: $4
DayMiles/DayGas Price: $6
4 weeks$387.00
DayMiles/DayGas Price: $9
4 weeks$540.00



$540 a month for gas would mean that gas is a luxury for me.  At that point, I’d definitely be carpooling!  There is a great chance that I would be biking or walking more often to close destinations too (like visits to the library).

Actually, there is a good chance that I would try to carpool with more than just my buddy.  I think I would try to get 4 total people to carpool with, if possible.  By having 4 people in the mix, that would drastically reduce my gasoline cost (if not for weekends it would be by a factor of 4).

If I lived in a larger city, I would consider taking public transportation too, but since I don’t… public transportation isn’t really an option for me.  I would definitely try to push the telecommuting option though!


So forget the Grey Poupon, pass me a can of gasoline please!



18 Responses to When Is Gas Considered A Luxury?

  1. At some point, trading in the auto-fortress SUV for a teeny-tiny gas sipper will become more feasible.
    There’s also the possibility that federal gas taxes may be increased, whichever party wins the election in 2012.

    • Wow, talk about insult to injury… Plus I heard they are thinking of hitting the oil companies too by cutting their subsidies. What does the current government think the oil companies will do… obviously raise gas prices…

      The average middle class person is the one that’s going to get hurt in such cases…

  2. A good thing out of this would be a greater push for electrics and hybrids. Now only if the costs come down…

    But then you can always ruin a good thing – Arnie has a hybrid hummer!

    • LOL, I never heard of Arnie’s hybrid hummer… What a joke!

      I’ll all for electrics and hybrids, but I want the price of gas to stay affordable too. Who wants another recession, not this financial guy!

    • Wow, I don’t think I could afford to own a car at those prices. I guess I would have to work close to where I live and take the public transport systems.

  3. Think yourselves lucky guys. I have just done some quick sums of Petrol prices here in the UK.
    A litre here is £1.32.9 (that’s just over $8 a US gallon)
    Now I have traded my little car for a motorbike and get a full tank 3 gallons for 1 about £20 (about $32) but on a bike I get 350 miles to that full tank. In the car I used to put £70 ($113) a week in to get to work and back (some 300 miles a week) and then need to fill it up again at the end of the working week.
    But it is rather a pain in the posterior with the rising prices. I know most of the UK price is tax but it is still ridiculous.

    • Wow, that is very, very high! I think after $9 a gallon, I don’t think I can afford to drive anymore, at least without help (see carpooling above).

      I wonder why the prices are so high in United Kingdom?

  4. I think that Americans underestimate the lengths to which they can fall. You guys think that times are hard when gas is at $5 when people around the world are used to much worse than that and much greater levels of poverty.

    I don’t think gas is ever a luxury good but if there is another big oil shock then rising prices will definitely test the patience of many!

    Btw if you want to get controversial a hummer consumes less lifetime energy than a prius, supposedly. 😉

    • Hmm, interesting take! I never heard that about the lifetime energy of a Hummer vs a Prius… I’ll have to check that one out!

      The funny thing is, I’m still not very happy about $3.00 a gallon gas… 🙁

  5. Why do we only think of carpooling or public transportation when gas is expensive? Gas is expensive at $4 per gallon too. I have carpooled at a lot lower prices because of distance and overall cost.

    • I think I don’t like to carpool because I enjoy the me time when I’m driving.

      The “me time” is a luxury that I found that I enjoy very much.

      Perhaps there is room for compromise.

  6. We picked our current location to minimize driving. Part of that is to keep commuting costs low, but it’s also because I hate commuting by car and like being able to walk to everything I need. Because of this decision I fill up every month or two and could afford $10/gal gas though I would certainly consider it a small luxury.

    I’m with Krantcents – minimizing gas purchases now makes it much easier to adjust to rising prices. That being said, I think the American public will continue to shuffle their budgets (or credit cards) to fit gas in at their current consumption rates for a long time to come.

    • Sounds like you have a very strategic living location!

      Yeah, you are right, most american will continue to purchase gas, and for a long time. But we certainly won’t be happy about it.

  7. Gasoline is definitely a luxury now. Simply dumbfounding how motor racing can be justified with this depleting natural resource. The smartest of us have already taken major steps to economize, and get off the oil treadmill. I really hope our next family car will be electric.

    • I know a few very intelligent people that race small cars (Honda CRX and the like), I personally find no thrill in it, but then again I’ve never tried it…

      That said, I would love to have the Chevy Volt or perhaps even the Nissan Leaf.

      My only concerns would be the eventual battery disposal and replacement costs.

      I’ve seen an air powered bike that was pretty impressive. I think if my weather conditions were nicer, I would get one for small trips.