Monday, August 22, 2005
Gas prices have gone up sufficiently in the last week or so that we can now call it at $2.80 per gallon for regular gas in this part of California. That means that it's once again time to update the California SUV Fill Up Index. This index was first published in this post from about ten days ago, and we'll continue to provide an update with each 10 cent increase at the pump - at least until we start getting hate mail from flustered SUV owners.
The list has been expanded a bit to include some other SUV models, so if you felt left out last time, maybe now you can see how your SUV ranks with the others. A fuel economy column has also been added. If you want to have some fun, try finding out what kind of mileage you get for the SUVs which have NA in the Mileage column below. Apparently, if a vehicle is over 8500 pounds (yes, that would be over four tons), then fuel economy ratings are not required and buyers are left to figure this out on their own before buying one of these - either that or trust an SUV salesman who has little interest in providing bad news.
Here's the updated chart:
We've added a blue line to the chart to demarcate fill up costs above and below $75. Since prices will have to rise to over $3.00 per gallon to see vehicles crossing over the red line into the $100 fill up range, the next movement will come around the $75 mark.
It's hard to imagine paying $75 to fill up a Toyota, but with the next update, that's where the Sequoia will be. Just a wild guess here, but maybe Toyota's Sequoia production line will not be quite so busy in the coming years as it has been in recent years.
Of course, oil could drop back down to $30 or $40 a barrel and then we can all resume the "non-inflationary prosperity", to which we have all become accustomed. We'll see.
Gas Lines at Costco and Fifty Dollar Fill Ups
While waiting in line to purchase gas at Costco over the weekend, watching the gentleman in front of us squeezing the handle six or eight times to finish dispensing what turned out to be a neat $50.00 load of gas into a small truck, a feeling of first wonder, then trepidation overcame us. Just how much was it going to cost to fill up our Dodge Dakota which has provided so much enjoyment on frequent camping and hiking trips into California's Sierra Nevada mountains. It's used sparingly around town, so it's been a few weeks since we last added gas, and prices have gone up.
The answer would soon come.
At the time we didn't know how large the tank was (turns out it is 22 gallons), and the gas light had just illuminated, so there was danger to be sure. At Costco, regular gas was priced at $2.679 (why the tenth of a cent, still?), which was the usual 10-20 cents lower than most nearby Chevron and Mobil stations. So, after pondering the previous truck owner’s fuel purchase, we began filling the tank and waited impatiently for the numbers on the display to stop.
[If gas prices continue to rise, someone should really look into slowing the rate at which fuel is dispensed - watching the fuel purchase amount while dispensing gas at today's prices gives you that same uneasy feeling you get when watching the tenths-of-a-mile digit on your odometer when doing 85 miles an hour on the way to Las Vegas - it is very unsettling when the numbers are increasing so fast].
So, as the display raced into the high forty dollar range - 47, 48, 49 - our first fifty dollar fill up seemed assured. But, like some kind of intervention from above, the pump handle clicked off, and the display stopped - $49.59.
We didn't top it off.
In the future, we plan to fill up more frequently. If gas prices continue to rise, perhaps we can maintain our own personal illusion of "non-inflationary prosperity" if we never let the tank get below 1/4 full. That would translate into roughly a 30 cents a gallon "buffer", postponing the day of routine $50 fill ups for our truck.
Come to think of it, if gas prices really get out of hand, we'll just reset the mark to 1/2 full, then 3/4 full, if necessary.
We recommend other truck and SUV owners do the same.