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The bumpy road to financial independence. . . .


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Are there benefits to $4 gas?

According to Time Magazine, there are! Personally, as I've mentioned before, the rise in gas prices hasn't hurt my budget too much---in fact, I think I'm spending less to keep my car gassed because I've started taking the bus to work instead of driving to the Max transit center. However, I know a lot of you out there are hurting. Here are some (arguable) benefits to paying over $4 for a gallon of gas!

1. Less pollution: people are driving less, taking public transportation or carpooling more, which means less pollution in the air. That's a good thing!

2. Four-day workweeks: one of my coworkers is actually trying to think of ways to propose this to our director. By coming in to the office one fewer day a week, she can save on gas and parking fees. Many other companies are allowing this, with the benefits extending beyond saving money. People tend to call in sick less and produce more when they're on a reduced workload.

3. Moving closer to work. I think (and real estate agents are confirming) that people will begin looking at moving closer to their places of work, rather than living in McMansions in the suburbs and driving an hour or more to get to the office. This could create mini-communities within city limits---smaller yards, less room for 'stuff', but possibly better relationships with neighbors and utilization of local grocery shops, cafes and restaurants.

4. More frugality. As we spend more at the pump, we are becoming more creative about saving in other areas, like grocery shopping and utilities. Growing our own food and monitoring our energy usage helps save money and contributes to a greener world.

5. Better health. This might be a stretch. But think about it: if we're walking more, eating more locally grown produce, and purchasing less packaged (aka: expensive) food, might it follow that we're in better health? I guess the effects of this won't be known, if ever, for years, but I enjoy thinking about it all the same!

In struggling financially, I also struggle to find the silver lining, and this article in Time helped me do that. If you're interested, there are five more 'benefits' to high gas prices, outlined in the article.

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