Friday, November 23, 2007

Christie Asks: How Much Are You Paying at the Pump?

I’m heading out to the mall like everyone else today. I’m going to pick up my sister-in-law and my niece first, and we’ll probably hit a couple of places. With gas prices the way they are right now, maybe I should worry about consolidating trips, choosing the most efficient route, or perhaps even forgetting about it altogether, but I’m going to drive the car today without guilt.

Because it runs on used vegetable oil.

Oh, and we got the car off of Craig’s List for free.

We have an old college friend that my husband, Surfer Guy, spent time with this summer. He told him all about his “veggie car” which then inspired my husband to want one of his own. I just listened (well, half-listened) and nodded my head but didn’t think too much more about it. Surfer Guy can be all talk sometimes. But, then, since I apparently gave the green light (pun intended), Surfer Guy seeks out the perfect car. I’m still not to worried. It has to be a diesel Mercedes Benz from the 1980s, a certain model, and there were so many other parameters that I thought, “He’ll never find the right one.” And he didn’t, not for a couple of weeks. He didn’t want to spend too much on it and many of them were out of what he’d determined to be his price range.

Then one day, on Craig’s List, he finds a car of the right vintage, in our town, that the guy is giving away just to get it out of his driveway. Of course, it didn’t run. But we have AAA, so Surfer Guy has it towed home. In a few days he has it up and running. In a few more days, at the small cost of a conversion kit off the internet, he has it ready to run on veggie oil (you can run it on a combo of veggie/diesel too). He was so excited, he didn’t want to wait to find a used oil source, so he bought gallons of new oil at Costco. I think that tank of gas cost like $10.00 a gallon. But the car worked, and now he gets used oil once a week from Chopsticks Inn. He has to filter it through these drums he picked up at the car wash (also used, once held soap, and also free), so that takes a little time, but he loves, loves, loves his veggie car.

And hey, it smells better than a diesel or regular gas car too! Just the faintest tinge of something cooking.

So I’m off to the mall in the veggie-mobile, gas-free, guilt-free.

What’s the gas going for in your area? And what will you cut down on if the prices continue upward? Don’t say romance novels!


JoAnna said...

We are at 2.91gal right now in minneapolis, mn.
and I have to drive alot and all the sudden my car is just sucking gas!
I just got it fixed to! Bummer.
So, I dont know what I would give up I dont buy a lot now because I am a poor college student!!!!

Helen Brenna said...

Christie, how cool what your Surfer Guy did! Does he like to tinker with cars, anyway, or was this pretty easy to do?

Shhh, don't tell my doggies, but the daily trips to the dog park start to add up. That might be one of the first things to go!

byrdloves2read said...

I'm fascinated by the veggie conversion kit. I remember reading about it last year and wished I knew someone who could do it. Of course, I only fill up with gas once every other month as it is because I don't drive much anymore, so in a way I'm doing my part. Heh heh Anyway, premium gas here is $3.29/gal.

Cindy Gerard said...

This is just too cool, Christie. You really need to give us a photo of this amazing car.
We're at $3.09 here in Iowa. Diesel is $3.39.
I'm loving my hybrid right about now, let me tell you.
And kudos to ANYONE who is brave enough to forge out among the shopping masses today.

Christie Ridgway said...

Joanna: That sounds like a deal to us here in SoCal. Like Byrdloves2read, ours is about $3.29 a gallon too. So we're loving the veggie car.

Helen: Surfer Guy is handy all the way around, but according to him, it was quite easy to do. There's a local guy who buys cars, converts them to veggie, and sells them, and he gave some advice too. Also, there are lots of pix and info on the internet.

I think the most difficult aspect of the whole process is finding a reliable, clean-ish veggie source. That took a few tries. Those lunch wagons that drive around to, no. Surfer Guy had a source there and the oil was really really gross!

InStyle magazine had an article a couple of months back on some chi chi L.A. area restaurants giving away their used oil and feeling very green about it...I hope that attitude catches on.

Betina Krahn said...

Regular gas in Florida is 3.09 a gal. I have to use premium in one car and at 3.29 a gal. we don't drive that car any more than necessary-- even though it gets reasonably good mileage. We save up errands and combine trips. But everything is so spread out here that we're always driving too much.

Christie, I LOVE the idea of the veggie oil car! I'm going to check into it!

Michele Hauf said...

Wow, sounds like work to get the oil clean and usable, but what a way to go! I'd be all for it. Even if the car did smell slightly like a french fry while I was driving.

I think we're at $3.09, but premium is higher, which is what I buy. Glad I only have to fill about every three weeks. I don't go out very often.

What would I cut down on? Hmm, I suppose I could forgo the movie theater half the time, and wait for the video. Maybe.


flchen1 said...

Last time I checked, regular unleaded was $3.63. My husband just got a Prius though, and LOVES it. Even though he commutes in it, he only has to fill the tank every other week. Yay!

And no, I'd never give up books! Maybe we'd eat out less, or maybe I ought to make sure I return stuff to the library on time so as to cut out those late fees!

Keri Ford said...

flechen, I'd love to know where you live. That's steep!

In south arkansas gas is $2.98 for Unleaded and $3.28.

Thank goodness I stay at home and the hubby drives a company vehicle in which he gets to charge the gas to them.

I'd cut off the cable to just basic channels of 1-10, but the hubby would pitch a fit.

Debra Dixon said...

Gas has gone up 30 cents in the last month where we live.

I like the idea of a veggie car!! That's so cool. I'll make Hot Rod Guy (my hubby) go look into this. LOL!

flchen1 said...

Keri, we live in the San Francisco Bay Area--everything is pretty expensive here, relative to the rest of the country ;) Oh well!