I read about the May 15 gas out over at Green Options, and while I’ve heard of many of these happening before, I still find the idea interesting.
The basic concept is that for one day you do not buy any gas. Ideally, you don’t use any gas either, but that won’t be practical for many people. This unfortunately limits how well this kind of thing works because many people will just buy the day before or the day after, and things will probably mostly balance out.
Which is really a pity.
This idea has been bouncing around for a while. I hear about a gas out every few months, especially when prices are climbing. Prices in my area are generally over $3.40/gallon, so buying a tank of gas is quite painful for many budgets.
But there are better ways to show gas companies that you don’t like where things have been going. You can use less gas on a regular basis. Get millions of people to commit to that, and you will have a far greater impact on gas companies than using no or less gas for a single day.
No, I won’t be participating. I go many days without using any gas myself, as my husband and I share a car. I work at home so this is an easy thing to do. But it just so happens that I have a dentist appointment on the 15th, so my options are limited.
But I think my one car family status gives me perspective on just how possible it is to go through life using a car less. I’ve been at it for over 4 months now. There are occasional inconveniences, and sometimes I have to borrow a car, but overall it is very doable.
To just plain drive less, you need a realistic plan. It doesn’t matter how you plan on driving less – carpooling, combining errands, getting rid of a car – you need to have a plan that you can live with. How will you cope with emergencies? What about doctor’s appointments and the like, which cannot always be scheduled at the most convenient hour?
I’m fortunate in having plenty of family in my area to help. Often enough when I need a car I need help with the kids too, so the needs can be combined.
Committing to driving less makes far more sense to me on every level. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to stick it to the oil companies, want to save money or want to save the environment. A good plan can help you with all these goals.