Falling Prices

Filling the tank on our Camry yesterday brought a smile to my face since a fill up cost only $20. What satisfaction at pulling into a station with a sign proclaiming the price of gas $1.99 per gallon.

But then this morning crossing the border into Alabama I couldn’t help but feel we’d been ripped off when the first station in the state laughs at Floridians with the large yellow sign singing Sweet Home Alabama’s price for gas at $1.77.

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Really $1.99 is an exceptionally low price, much better than 30¢ gas of my youth which is equivalent to $2.32 in today’s prices or even the 19¢ ($3.26) of 1935. It’s only because the prices are posted so prominently that we obsess over every extra penny added to the cost of travel.

However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t make a left turn across three lanes of traffic to take advantage of the $1.73 gas price available to Sam’s Club members. It felt good to be able to take advantage of such a bargain.

And really, who doesn’t love a bargain?

Don’t Buy a New Car

Everybody’s talking about the price of gas! At the end of October, the price hoovered around $3.00 a gallon to the delight of most Americans, but today that seems like a fortune as prices continue to drop.

This morning on my way into town I saw prices as low at $2.47, and I read that in Oklahoma it’s as low as $2.17! We’ve all been saving a lot of money at the pump, and it looks like we’ll continue to do so for quite some time.

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However, please do not use lower gas prices as an excuse to buy a car that you wouldn’t have considered purchasing at this time last year. SUVs have been selling like hotcakes. In fact, one in four new vehicles sold in the past two months have been SUVs. Tahoe, Expedition, and even Hummer sales have increased, but if you’re banking on low gas prices to pay for the fill ups in these gas guzzlers, you’re making a mistake. Gas prices are not predictable.

This advice from the owner of a Chevy Suburban. Today’s lower prices make filling up less painful, but when prices increase in a few months or next year, you’ll be suffering from buyer’s remorse and perhaps trying to figure out how to pay for a fill up that exceeds $100.

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We bought a Suburban when gas prices were high, closer to $4.00 a gallon. We knew what to expect, but it’s the perfect vehicle for pulling a boat, camping, and hauling bikes all over the state. Saving money today is a bonus, but we’re prepared for the $100 fill ups to return.

Take advantage of the lower prices by keeping a little more money in your bank account or take more weekend trips with the savings. And if you were already planning to buy a car, then by all means buy…but make sure you buy the same car you’d purchase when gas prices were high. If you’re willing to pay big bucks to fill the tank of an SUV that’s fine, but if you would have been happy with a smaller car or hybrid earlier in the year, you’ll enjoy it just as much today when gas prices are low.

Don’t buy a car…based on today’s low gas prices, make your decisions according to your needs.

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Mom