Monday, May 01, 2006

Pump My Own Gas? Please - I'm From Jersey!

So, being the proud New Jersey-born person that I am, I have no idea how to pump my own gas. Self-service gas stations are a foreign concept in New Jersey, so I've been having a good laugh at NJ governor Jon Corzine's proposal to implement self-service in New Jersey. Bite your tongue Governor! I'll bet one of your drivers pumps your gas!

I mean, I have pumped gas before, just not often. Or well. The only time I have to do it is when I rent a car and I hate it because every rental car is different. As a matter of fact, I'll be renting a car this weekend to drive down to the D.C. area to do some work related to my book, so I'm sure I'll have lots of fun fumbling around and getting laughed at as I face the inevitable at the gas station. The last time I drove down, there was a woman behind me (who was probably in a hurry) that gladly helped me pump my gas. It helped that she actually worked at a car rental place, so she was sympathetic to my confusion. I'm sure she's seen all types!

The reality of self-service first came crashing down on me when I lived, ever so briefly (5 months), in California. I didn't think it would be a big deal, so I couldn't believe that it was such a big production for me! And, I had no idea homeless guys hung out at gas stations to pump gas for extra money (Ha!) I was thisclose to letting this homeless guy pump my gas before the station attendant ran over and said "Oh no miss! It's okay, I'll do it!" I didn't care who did it, I just wanted to get out of there! It's a good thing that I spent the bulk of my time on the bus before I raced back to New York less than six months later. Then again, no it wasn't because the bus in LA sucks. In New York, you see every color and income level on the subway and the bus. In LA, the people on the bus are primarily black, brown and poor. Most of the white people that I saw on the bus were European tourists. In New York, and I'm sure in other cities across the country, it's no big deal to see a person sitting at a bus stop. In Los Angeles, people look at you like you're an alien. And it takes FOREVER to get anywhere. If I had stayed, I would have gotten a car, but I knew I was going so I didn't bother. However, I must say that I was struck by the demographics on the bus - and I know that bus strike a few years ago must have really hurt the poor in Los Angeles.

Getting back to gas, I have a new phobia about it: THE PRICE!

Granted, I use NYC and NJ public transportation, so I've mostly had my head in the sand about gas prices. But I will be renting quite a bit this summer and I will buy a car by the end of the year, so now it's on my mind.


For you drivers out there: How much does it take to fill your tank? And how often do you fill it? Also, driving a compact car from NY to DC and back - about how much do you think I'll spend in gas?

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11 Comments:

Blogger Mrs A. said...

honey, it takes about $45-50 dollars to fill my tank, and it will prollytake you a tank and a half to get to your destination. i used to live in the south, so pumping your own gas isn't too bad....i just hope that if it comes to this, that its worth it.

May 1, 2006 at 2:57 PM  
Blogger Miss Ahmad said...

I am blessed to drive a small car which I purchased to save gas! even in this madness I can fill up for about $25 and it lasts damn near two weeks (since I work five minutes from the house)

I think I'm gonna start walking to work though since it's nice out and that way I can save even that $25 since I know gas will be going up further.

I almost bought a car in December but changed my mind, now when I buy a new one, it's gonna be a hybrid for sure!

May 1, 2006 at 4:00 PM  
Blogger Nichelle said...

Miss A: That was my estimate too.

Miss Ahmad: I'm thinking about a hybrid too - eventually. I'll be buying a used car this year.

May 1, 2006 at 9:10 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix aka ThatGirlTam said...

Ok, Miss Ahmad and the Green Hornet are over there braggin! ((rollin my eyes at her))

Well...I commute 50 miles roundtrip back and forth to work. If I drive, I fill up my tank once a week with about $45 at the current rate ($3.17 a gallon). If I take the train, I can fill up my tank and that bad boy will last me about 2 months. The train is only $52 a month, $14 a week or $3 a day. Either way it's cheaper than driving.

Yes, the people on the buses in Los Angeles are usually the working-class, the white folks with good downtown jobs are on the train! When the MTA workers went on strike, the streets were packed and the traffic SUCKED. It would take me 2 hours to get home (and that was LONG before I considered takin the train).

I drive a smaller SUV and my husband has a Yukon...he never puts more than $30 in his tank at any one time. Although I know he's put in at least $75 at one point to fill up.

May 2, 2006 at 6:56 PM  
Blogger Nichelle said...

OMG, I knew that strike had to suck. I left just in time.

And I had no idea that downtown people took the train. I never took the train in LA but I did go down and look at it (near Hollywood Boulevard) and had a good laugh.

As for the gas, I've figured out a better way to get back and forth from DC this weekend. I'm taking the Amtrak into Union Station DC and renting a car. With my student discount, the train won't be too bad - and I'll be able to read and get some work done for 3 hours instead of driving. AND... the car rental is a lot cheaper in DC and I'll have a shorter distance to drive which means I'll spend less in gas.

Problem solved!

May 2, 2006 at 9:08 PM  
Blogger Miss Ahmad said...

uummm no dissing the green hornet. shoot i'm gonna get me a bicycle at this rate. my cheap ass just doesn't wanna admit that gas is so expensive!

I would take the train if i had your communte too phoenix, just to save on the road rage!

nichelle, when i lived in Oakland I rented when I needed a car because I didn't need one all the time. saved lots of cash!

May 3, 2006 at 2:56 AM  
Anonymous Juicy77 said...

I had fun in college lauging at my friends from NY and NJ when we had to stop for gas! This post brought back great memories. lol
Anyway, the gas prices aren't so funny, but I lucked out like Miss Ahmad and happen to have a small car with great mileage. When gas was affordable, it only took $10 to fill up my tank. Now it takes $28 and I work 1 mile from home now so I fill up about every two weeks (and once this horrible pollen dies down, I'll walk sometimes). I don't remember how much it was the last time I drove to NJ from here. It was the tolls that got me though - not the gas. Amtrak is definitely a better idea.

May 3, 2006 at 9:21 AM  
Blogger Nichelle said...

Miss Ahmad: I've never been to Oakland, but I'm guessing the public transportation must be decent for you to be able to get away without using a car all the time.

Juicy: You know you're wrong for laughting! LOL!! Is it our fault that NJ and Oregon are the only states in the land with laws mandating self-service gas stations?

And yes, Amtrak is a much better idea for me.

May 4, 2006 at 12:30 AM  
Blogger Supa said...

Girl. I jumped out my whip and stopped the pump when it whizzed past $60.

WTF!!!!

Booooo @ Ms. Ahmad and the Green Hornet!!! :)

But I 'aint gon' lie, I'ma take it in the ass (no brokeback) and keep it pushin'. Hell, I just bought a new car, can't park it now...

May 8, 2006 at 2:22 PM  
Blogger Nichelle said...

LOL@Supa jumping out of her whip when it whizzed past $60! Hahahaha!!!!

Girl, that's why I took the train to DC and got a car from there. I spent $10 in gas!

May 8, 2006 at 4:19 PM  
Blogger a.i.n.t. said...

Girl, depending on what part of town I'm in, I catch plenty eye candy whilst pumping my own gas (along with offers to pump it for me) down here in the south. Visiting the gas station regularly has benefits. hehehehe

My car holds 14 gallons, so with gas today at $2.86/gallon, it would cost $40 to fill up.

@ Supa, please tell me you ain't getting back in the car while it's filling up. Surely you know about the DANGERS of static electricity and the risk of blowing up yourself, your car, and the gas station, yes?

May 24, 2006 at 12:00 PM  

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