Christopher Pratt (cpratt) wrote,
Christopher Pratt

On $4 gas

On the way back from breakfast with my parents yesterday, I noticed a gas station in Hillcrest that was selling diesel for $4.05 a gallon (cash price, self service). Of course, I immediately thought of President Bush's press conference from a week and a half ago:

Q What's your advice to the average American who is hurting now, facing the prospect of $4 a gallon gasoline, a lot of people facing --

THE PRESIDENT: Wait, what did you just say? You're predicting $4 a gallon gasoline?

Q A number of analysts are predicting --


Q -- $4 a gallon gasoline this spring when they reformulate.

THE PRESIDENT: That's interesting. I hadn't heard that.

Q Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. I know it's high now.
Hm. Nice to know that the President finds it "interesting" that gas might has hit $4 a gallon.

Anyhow, after filling up my tank on the way to work this morning ($42, 11.something gallons), I thought it'd be a good idea to check on my transit options.

Before I get started here, I should point out a few facts:

1. I live in the 2nd largest city in California (and the 8th largest city in the USA).

2. I live in North Park, one of the oldest neighborhoods in San Diego; housing is very, very dense and there are many lower income residents here.

3. I work for Qualcomm, which is one of the largest employers in the county (only the military, the government, and various health care providers employ more people).

4. It is 14 miles each way to my office. The commute typically takes 30 minutes each way, but can take up to 45 minutes if traffic is bad (and on rare occasions, an entire hour if it's raining and there are multiple accidents and a Chargers game).

Given all of the above, I thought I might have a chance at cutting down on my commute costs (typically about $8 a day including maintenance, insurance, and gas).

I began by looking for carpools or vanpools. There are none: the vanpool service Qualcomm uses (Enterprise) shows that there is no one within 5 miles of my house (in very dense, very urban San Diego) who currently vanpools to Qualcomm. There is a carpool site but it's down, so I can't check it; there is apparently no Qualcomm internal commute site of any value (there's one that talks about how they'll kick in 25% of my bus pass costs, and about how there's some complicated pre-tax deduction plan available, but that's it).

So, I thought I'd turn to public transit:

OK, so it's going to cost me even more than driving and it's going to take nearly three times as long? Oh, and I have to change buses three times? And I have to walk over a mile a day as well? Uh, no thank you.

Seriously, this is lame. You New Yorkers, Londoners, and Sydneysiders can start laughing at me right about now.
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