To Gas Up or Not

With the price of gas going up for what would seem to be just about any reason, and in many cases no reason at all, I got to thinking about how anglers might be able to better their costs at the pump.

Recently I received an email that dealt directly with how to lower gas prices. The email was started by someone identified as a former 'oil executive' and it stated that we all needed to boycott the two top manufacturers in the United States, that being Exxon and Mobil.

I had a pretty big problem with that notion from the get go.

It quickly occurred to me that I don't ever purchase gas from either of these two companies. The prescribed course of action would leave me 'out in the cold' so to speak on being able to take any action.

Going back in my mind I recall a completely different take on buying gas. I clearly and fondly remember as a kid when the concept of a Gas War was evident in my neighborhood. Competing gas stations, then called service stations cause they actually did more then just let you pump gas yourself and take your money, would regularly LOWER their prices to induce you and get your business. And when one station lowered their price the station across the way lowered it even further and so on back and forth.

Sadly this was replaced by the Gas Shortage of the early 1970's where you'd have to get up extra early to get the best spot in line for the pumps, which sometimes stretched for blocks, to get your gas otherwise you might not get any that day at all. Stations were rationing gas, in fairness it was rationed to them as well by the refineries, and it was first come first served until a certain time in the day when they literally shut down the pumps until the next morning.

So what do we do about our current situation at the pumps?

First was the obvious step of simply not driving as much. When I'm on a week where I have little or less travel I never fill the tank up as used to do. My mind set was to only get as much gas as I figured I really needed at any one time, thereby keeping some of the dollars in my pocket until I had to fork it over to the gasoline concerns. Of course this action was put into play relatively quickly when I realized that the idiots that operate my local stations wouldn't allow me to fill up anyway. See when the price of gas goes up to $4.00 a gallon or more, and they have a $50 limit of what you can purchase at their pumps, I simply CAN'T fill 'er up. My truck takes over $60 to get to the fill point. The notion was also shot down when I also quickly found out that when I put in $10 or $20 I get hit more severely, gas prices being what they are around here, with gas prices moving upward on what seems to be a daily basis.

Now understand that for me the price of gas has already reached a critical stage. I'm a truck, boat and RV owner, none of which get remarkable mileage per gallon so I get stuck rather harshly when prices escalate. Or, I simply have to severely modify my families lifestyle and chose not to travel as much as we'd like.

One thing I will do is shop around for gas at the lowest price I can find. I used to be rather dependent on one station, who's gas I deemed more worthy of going into my tanks, but I've found that I simply can no longer afford to be all that choosy about who's gas I use. Pricing being my bottom line. And with the threat of prices continuing to escalate until they hit the $5 or $6 per gallon range, I figure that mind set isn't going to change any time soon.

So what can I really do? Well I still don't drive when I absolutely don't have to do so. Of course this doesn't help the seemingly millions of local residents who face a handsome commute each day to and from work.

To those people I ask, what in the world ever happened to the notion of carpooling? Seems 4 out of 5 cars I see each day on the road are single passenger rides. Is it really that hard to plan ahead and jump into a ride sharing program if you have to travel, oh let's say over 30 miles each day to and from work? Lots of vehicles seem to be traveling cooperative routes so I'm kind of at a loss for why more folks don't do the commute communal style and arrange to split the costs of travel to and from work.

Of course this can be extended to the angling community as well. Make sure you're sharing rides to your favorite fishing holes with other anglers that you want to fish and buddy up to get to your next tournament destination. Split the gas and oil costs of pre-fishing with your sign up partners and maybe even consider jumping into the buddy competitors boat to do your pre-fish if possible. Many of us are already in a mode of sharing other expenses when on the road.

Plan your fishing out in advance and launch close to where you're going to fish. Our big motors these days might get better gas mileage then in past decades, however they do still consume a large amount of gasoline in any given day and running around all over the lake or river seems to be something that might just be too costly in the long haul. I tend to spend a lot more time on the trolling motor then the big motor when I plan out my fishing day before I go out and launch accordingly.

One other idea is to keep that big motor running but not necessarily at wide open throttle all the time. Take a bit more time to get from point A to point B and save the stress on your big motor and some gas consumption dollars at the same time.

Another suggestion might be to spread what dollars you are spending on gas around to a variety of gas stations. Maybe you'd have an impact if, rather then sending all of your gas dollars to one company, you instead sent them to say five or six companies. No one outfit would be garnering all your dollars in that instance.

I have a bit of an impact simply because I've created a means for myself to work from home. I don't have to get out on the road for a long distance commute anymore unless I chose to do so and thank goodness that's so. I would likely have to move much closer to where I worked if that wasn't the case and I'm thoroughly content living where I do.

I'm also a proponent of the 'absolute grief factor'. Maybe some of these thugs tearing dollars out of your wallets would ease up a a bit if they knew they'd be hearing something absolutely nasty from users on each and every purchase. I often ask gas retailers how they can sleep at night knowing full well they're completely ripping off their customer base. Problem there is we're a dependent customer base in large part and we don't have many options aside from where we do actually decide to buy gas. At some point you still have to get the darned stuff somewhere.

I'm wide open for more suggestions on how to get the prices down at the pumps. Proposed boycotts simply don't seem to resonate in my brain all that much, especially when the companies that are being boycotted aren't ones I utilize anyway.

Of course this is all likely to be moot because of the nature of beings that we, for the most part, are as humans. We live a much more solitary existence then most would admit and it's our tendency to move away from a communal mind set that will have us paying through the teeth for gasoline come summer.

Have any thoughts on how to bring gas prices down? Feel free to share them in either of our fishing forums.