Rising cost of fuel impacts everyone’s daily life

12 years ago

SH Spring Car Care BANNER

Rising cost of fuel impacts everyone’s daily life

By Kathy McCarty

Staff Writer

    The rising cost of gasoline has had a major impact on day-to-day life for just about everyone, with people looking for ways to make the most of their income, looking for ways to budget for daily necessities and determining what they truly need and what they can live without. For many, that means cutting down on traveling — be it for work or just for pleasure.

Staff photo/Kathy McCarty

    PAIN AT THE PUMP — The price of gasoline was down in Presque Isle on Friday, April 6, to $4.15 per gallon of regular unleaded — a dip of seven cents from the week’s high of $4.22. Motorists have been keeping a watchful eye on the prices, taking advantage of drops as they occur. Travelers have been putting more thought into each trip they make, in an attempt to get the most for their money with each fill-up.  CC-RisingGasPrices-c-sh-15

    Jim Kaiser, of Presque Isle, said his family limits trips to conserve gas.

    “We just don’t go anywhere unless we absolutely have no choice,” said Kaiser.

    Jon McQuarrie, of Houlton, said outings have been reduced due to the rising cost of fuel.

    “We don’t take the truck very far away from home any more. Unless we’re going to camp or we each need a vehicle for something, the truck sits in the driveway,” said McQuarrie.

    Jennifer Perkins, of Easton, said she and her fiance, Shawn Michaud, tend to use her car, rather than his truck, when running errands.

    “We take my little car everywhere now instead of taking Shawn’s truck. This has become a bit irritating at times, since he is a handyman and we can’t pack his tools and lumber in the car,” said Perkins.   

    “He says he will always own a pickup; that’s just how he is. Personally, I’m wishing I had looked more at that Prius before I bought my little car I have now — peer pressure be damned!” said Perkins.

Staff photo/Jon Gulliver
    PREP WORK — Spring car care for racers is a little more involved than changing out the studded tires and making sure the coolant is at the right levels. With racing at Spud Speedway just six weeks away, mechanics need to start getting the cars ready. Although some racers, like Jeff Willette of Presque Isle, have been working on their car or cars throughout the winter, others will use the next few weeks to get them ready for racing. Turn to sports for the complete story.  carcare-racecar-dc-arsh-15

    For others, cutting down on travel hasn’t been an option, since most of the miles put on vehicles is for their work.

    “For our family, my husband is a delivery driver who gets a flat rate of pay. As gas prices increase, the pay does not follow suit. So instead of budgeting $100 a week, we’re having to budget $120 a week on fuel just for work,” said Traci Stone, of Mapleton. “And then on top of that, we don’t live downtown, so we have to pay almost $30-50 a week in fuel to do basic errands.”

    Stone said her family tries to combine appointments and errands into the same day, to reduce trips.

    “We used to go out whenever we wanted, with no real concerns about fuel. Now we go out twice a day — to drop off and pick up our son from school — while we’re out, we run our errands and do what we need to do. After that, if we’ve forgotten something out to town, we do not make another trip until we plan on being in town again,” said Stone.

    She said the steady rise in the cost of gas has left her family cutting expenses elsewhere.

    “We don’t do anything special like go to the movies or rent movies even. We’ve cut back on all our other bills to make more money available for fuel,” Stone said.

    McLellan and her husband, Harvey, of Sheridan, do a great deal of traveling just for work. As the cost of gasoline has risen, she said she’s seen other prices increase as well.

    “It’s getting a bit scary. We all know when gas prices go up, food prices go up. Everything goes up,” she said.

    She and her husband have tried to limit trips but work keeps at least one of their vehicles on the road daily.

    “My husband works two jobs. It seems like his second job is just paying for gas,” said McLellan. “Last year, we spent about $150 a week on food. It’s turned into $200 this year.”

    “We go to work and back just to try and save. There’s really no cutting back on gas. We have to have it. My husband travels to Presque Isle from Ashland seven days a week. I’m thankful I work local,” said McLellan. “And when I’m not working, I just stay home.”

    Tammy Ladner, of Presque Isle, said her budget dictates how far she can go and which stores she does business with.

    “If I have $20 for gas, I only have $20 for gas and that’s it. So I have to decide if I really need to drive to Walmart or if I could walk to Rite-Aid or the IGA instead,” said Ladner. “I’m just really looking at what needs to get done and, since we live right in the heart of Presque Isle, walking doesn’t hurt us a bit.”

    Sue McPherson, of Westfield, said with a tightening budget, trips are planned in advance to get the most out of every gallon of gas.

    “I consolidate all errands and appointments whenever possible. I shop so that I don’t run out of things so I’m not forced to make a trip to town for something,” said McPherson. “I also find myself not filling up my car as often but rather putting in what I can afford.”

    McPherson said her summer plans may also be altered.

    “I may not be taking trips this summer,” McPherson said.

    Denis Berube, of Caribou, said vehicle maintenance is important to help improve mileage.

    “Make sure your tire pressure’s good,” said Berube.

    Brenda Audiss, of Kansas and formerly of Presque Isle, said her family relies on a strict budget.

    “We made a gasoline budget within our monthly budget. We make as few trips as possible to town — I live about 20 miles from the closest grocery store,” said Audiss, who also recommended keeping a well-maintained automobile. “Be sure and keep your car tuned up.”

    Sally Magee, of Cumberland Center and formerly of Presque Isle, said she and her husband, Dave, are doing as everyone else is — keeping vehicles maintained and making fewer trips. Plans also include looking for alternative means of transportation.

    “Like everyone else is doing, we’re trying to use our more efficient vehicle more, consolidating trips and not doing unnecessary driving,” said Magee. “In addition, for trips to Boston, we’re looking at using Amtrak rather than driving.”

    Magee said citizens should also share their concerns with their elected officials.

    “This is a good time for everyone to get politically active, such as researching candidates and supporting those that have an energy program that addresses energy needs, reducing energy costs, reducing dependence on oil. Join organizations that would promote this. Write to your state and federal lawmakers. Make them accountable,” she said.

    And be it for work or pleasure, Magee suggested traveling with friends of family.

    “Look for ways to carpool on a personal basis as well as for work — like trips to the mall. It’s more fun with more people anyway,” said Magee.