I still remember back in the early 2000s when gas was hovering around $1 a gallon. While my wife and I weren’t making much money back then, we still managed to do things since gas prices were reasonably tolerable.
Now however, things have changed. Prices in our area of the Chicagoland suburbs are near $4 a gallon. And even though the government keeps saying there is no inflation, I beg to differ. No one can sell me on inflation being tame when gas prices have quadrupled in about a decade. This huge jump in fuel prices has in turn affected our spending, and in some ways it has kept us from contributing to a variety of other areas of the economy.
Annual vacation plans squashed
It was more than just gas prices that caused us to cancel our vacation plans this year, but higher fuel prices certainly played a factor. With the price of a gallon a gas currently running at nearly $4 in the Chicagoland area, and according to AAA’s FuelGaugeReport.com, as of the writing of this article, nationally the average closer to $3.65, driving to Florida (a nearly 2,500 mile trip there and back) would likely have cost us nearly $500 – and potentially closer to $600 – in gas alone.
Summer races and weekend trips
I’m a big open-wheel racing fan, and living in the Midwest provides some reasonably close options to attend races during the warmer months. Living in the Chicagoland area gives us chances to head to Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa for races or race events like qualifying or Carb day for the Indianapolis 500. However, the cost for gas to get to such events now typically outweighs the cost of tickets, food, and other sundries.
Meanwhile, we used to also be big fans of the weekend road trip in and around the Midwest (especially in Indiana). Now, the gas for such trips typically costs as much or more than a night in a hotel or inn somewhere, and it often outweighs all our other expenses for such trips combined.
The trickledown effects
Sadly, there is a trickle down effect upon the economy from such high prices. Some of these effects I’ve already mentioned such as buying food for the trips or food while we’re at our destination, buying tickets to events, and purchasing souvenirs while there. There might also be the cost of hotel rooms, meals at restaurants or fast food joints, event parking, and other miscellaneous costs involved in the trip, travel, and having fun.
So while high gas prices are keeping our fun to a minimum, they’re also affecting the economy as a whole. We’re doing much less than we used to when prices were normal, but the up side is that we’re saving a little more money in the process.
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The author is not a licensed financial or travel professional. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.