I'm not a mathy person. It was never my favorite subject, never one that I excelled in. Never one that I paid much attention to. Sure, you need math every day - I get that, and I do use it, and I'm okay at it. But I've never really stopped to consider the way that it applies to my driving.
Until recently, when it seems like I'm behind the wheel of my van more than I'm anywhere else. Between summer camps and Vacation Bible School and groceries and playdates and errands - we're living in the van this summer, and truth be told, I'm good and tired of it. And it's only July.
The only person more tired of it is my husband, and with good reason. He's the breadwinner around these here parts. Every time I hit a major intersection, it's $20 bucks rolled up and shoved into my gas tank, and he's the one that's slinging chips in 100* heat to accommodate my petrol addiction.
So in order to better understand where he's coming from (and since I've been shuddering every time I've had to 'fess up that I just put gas in the van again), I just sat down and did some math. Voluntarily. I know, it shocked me too.
- I drive a 2004 Honda Odyssey, that I love aside from the fact that I like the newer body style more. Ahem. According to FuelEconomy.gov, my van gets approximately 19 MPG.
- The last time I noticed the price of gas, it was about $3.35/gallon. Sad confession: I generally just don't care. I have to go where I have to go, right? I'm going to buy the gas, whatever it costs. The following calculations may just alter that mindset a bit.
- My girls are attending VBS at a church that is 12.5 miles from our house. We went on Sunday morning and evening, Monday evening, and they'll go tonight and tomorrow night. That's five round trips, for a total of 125 miles.
- On Thursday, we'll go to the same church one more time for a playdate. That round trip is another 25 miles.
- At some point this week, we'll go to spend some time with my mom, who just had to go and remarry and move away. Granted, it's not that far, but much less convenient than having her exactly two miles away. Now it's 32.5 miles, making for a 65 mile round trip (not counting the puttering around town we do while we're there, because a visit to Mom nearly always includes shopping and dinner out, and I always drive since the girls' carseats/booster are already in my van.)
- We've also been to the mall and back to have the girls' pictures made - that's 11 miles one way - plus stops to register for swim lessons and another camp and pick up groceries while we were out. Let's just call that one 25 miles, round trip.
- I'll have to make at least one more trip into town before the weekend, for Rachael's piano lesson, which is another 17-mile round trip.
As far as I know, I don't have anywhere that I need to go on Saturday. (I was offered a Scentsy gig, but it's just too far to justify the drive/gas cost.)
So this week, I'll be driving approximately 257 miles.
- Rachael will be attending a day camp at the natural history museum, which is 8.5 miles from home. Five days, five round trips - that's 85 miles already planned for next week. And two hours I'll have to find a way to kill between camp and the girls' first swim lesson on Monday, because there's no way I can feel okay about an extra 17 miles to drive home and then back for the lesson.)
Of course, there will be church and groceries and errands and probably a playdate next week too, which will add to the 85, but I'm just thinking about the 85 for now. Add that to this weeks' driving, and that's 342 miles.
342 miles, divided by 19 MPG = 18 gallons of gas.
18 gallons x $3.35/gallon = $60.30, quite literally up in fumes.
Even that doesn't sound SO bad, except that I'm quite sure (having done the math) that my van isn't getting the "approximate" 19 MPG. I swear I go through more than that in a typical two weeks, with no daily VBS and summer camps. We spend more on gas than on anything else but groceries - and on some weeks, when I've done a particularly good job of stockpiling and just don't need much, groceries are even cheaper. It's ridiculous, and it's painful.
If there's nowhere I have to go in a typical day, then there's somewhere we want to go. And I'm obviously going to have to start eliminating those "want to" trips, like it or not.
But on the bright side, cutting back on the running just may present me with one of those much-coveted nowhere-to-go days before much longer...just in time for "back to school," when we don't need to be going so frequently anyway.