Mt Pleasant News
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 8, 2016

Old adage about timing rings true

By Brooks Taylor

By BROOKS TAYLOR

Mt. Pleasant News

Timing is everything, it is said.

There is more truth to that statement than most people think.

Unfortunately and sometimes fortunately, timing seems to have had more of an impact on my life than I would like.

When I drive past convenience stores and see gasoline prices near $4.00 per gallon, it takes me back to 2008. That was the year gas prices went through the roof. While I don’t remember paying $4.00 per gallon for gas, I do remember paying $3.96. Not much difference, 80 cents to be exact for 20 gallons of gasoline.

Gasoline prices zeroed in on $4 per gallon in the fall of the year. At the beginning of 2008, I became a business(es) owner again, adding two more businesses to a pair I had owned since 1999.

In any business you have fixed costs, or costs you can’t do much about. You have to have employees, telephone, a building and other related equipment. I also had to have gasoline, plenty of gasoline. Part of the cost of doing business was driving over 50,000 miles annually.

Most of the driving was done with a van that on a good day would get 15 miles to the gallon. I didn’t even want to know what my gas mileage was on a bad day. I can’t remember what gasoline prices were at the beginning of 2008, but I know they were under $2.50 per gallon.

That meant the nearly $1.50 increase in gas prices would cost me over $5,000 a year in vehicle expense. Ouch!

The next year, the economy went in the tank, slicing my annuity’s value by $12,000. Granted, my loss was small compared to many others who were much heavier into the stock market. However, my billfold wasn’t nearly as thick as theirs either.

For some reason (and I know the reason and it has to do with who occupies the White House), there isn’t the outcry this year over rising gasoline prices that there was in 2008. I hoped I would never see the day when I felt $2.50 per gallon gasoline was a bargain, but that day is getting closer and closer.

Fortunately (and again timing enters in), I live in a community now where I do not have to drive 30 miles to find a Walmart or a Hy-Vee or other services not provided by the community in which I live.

I put a few hundred miles on the car going to and from work and in my job, but the mileage I drive annually has greatly decreased than during my time in northwest Iowa. On the other side of the state, I would put about 15,000 miles on my car annually; now I have more than cut that mileage in half.

Most of that is because what I need I can purchase in Mt. Pleasant. A secondary reason is that as I advance in years my sense of financial conservatism seemingly increases. Before venturing on a trip, I debate on the value of the trip. Most of the time the expense outweighs the benefit.

However, even if I am not feeling the pinch of high gas prices as much as others at the pump, I am feeling the constraints through other avenues.

There is no doubt that higher gasoline prices mean higher transportation for goods and services. Those costs are passed to the consumer; you and I will be paying more for our necessities. So even if you closely scrutinize your trips, you still will be impacted.

Barring an outcry, not much is going to be done and I am still waiting to hear about people’s pain at the pump.

In a column a while back, I said I was switching animals in Major League baseball this year from the Cubs to the Tigers. Despite the switch, old habits are tough to break. I saw a story the other day on a website about a Cubs’ diet and am going to try it this year. I think considerable weight can be lost if the diet is followed religiously.

Several weeks ago a Cubs fan at spring training in Arizona was telling another fan about how she lost 40 pounds last summer following a Cubs’ diet. When asked for details about the diet, she said, “It was easy, I only ate when they (Cubs) won.”