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6 Ways to Prepare for Rising Gas Prices – $5 Per Gallon Gas Coming Soon?

By Heather Levin

gas pump car moneyIf you missed the NPR feature with former Shell Oil president Jon Hofmeister, then you might not have heard his prediction that we could be facing $5 per gallon gas here in the U.S. The story was also featured on major news outlets like Fox News, CNN and NBC News.

I know, it’s enough to make your eyes glaze over. All of us can still remember how tough it was in 2008, when a gallon of gas hit $4 (at least, it did here in Michigan).

So what’s going to happen if the experts are right, and we really do see $5 per gallon gas?

The Impact of High Gas Prices

The scary news is that just about everything we need to survive will go up in price as a result of high gas prices. This includes our food supply, which depends on enormous amounts of diesel to fuel tractors, as well as fuel to haul our bread, canned goods and fruit all over the country.

Travel will be more expensive, and the prices of all the goods and services we use daily will likely go up as well.

The good news is that we can take action to prepare for the possibility of rising gas prices in the years to come. And even if the experts are wrong and we don’t hit $5 per gallon gas, we’ll still be better prepared for emergencies, and we’ll know how to save money on gas.

How to Prepare For Rising Gas Costs

1. Switch to a High MPG Car
Cars are slowly increasing their miles per gallon and fuel economy. If you’re thinking about buying a car, invest in one of the most fuel efficient cars. You could also trade your guzzler in for a nice little used car, or even go down to a one car family to save money. The amount of money you can save with a more fuel efficient car or by getting rid of extra cars can be enormous.

2. Find Alternate Ways to Heat Your Home
If your home is heated by natural gas or propane, you’re fine. But if your home is heated with fuel oil, expect prices to go up steadily each year.

You can prepare for higher fuel prices by adding insulation and making your home more energy efficient. If less heat escapes, you’ll use less energy to heat your home. There are also plenty of cheap ways to keep warm in the winter.

Another way to prepare for higher fuel prices is to find alternative ways to heat your home. For instance, you could install a woodburning stove, a pellet stove (which burns wood pellets), a cob stove (which burns dried corn cobs – great if you live in a farming community since these are often left in the fields to rot), or a masonry heater.

All of these alternative heaters don’t depend on oil to heat your home, and they would work great to supplement your home’s existing heating system.

3. Grow Your Own Food
If gasoline hits $5 per gallon, food prices are going to rise dramatically. Basic necessities like flour, eggs, vegetables and milk will be much more expensive than they are today.

You can protect yourself from rising costs and save money by starting a home garden. You can also keep chickens, start a beehive, grow your own sprouts, or learn how to forage for nuts.

Plus, anything you grow could be bartered for something you need.

4. Buy Some Food In Bulk
As gas prices rise, so does the price of food. And although there are some things you shouldn’t buy in bulk, there are plenty of foods that do keep safely for quite some time. Buying food in bulk is a great way to save money, especially if prices do start to consistently go up.

Food prices are estimated to keep rising for several reasons. For instance, emerging markets like India and China are growing in wealth and this means they’re consuming more food. CBS Moneywatch predicts that grain prices could rise 15%-40% per year over higher demand. It’s the same for dairy, which is expected to go up 16%-45% this year.

These foods keep very well when bought in bulk:

  • White rice
  • Dried Beans
  • Canned Beans
  • Peanut Butter
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Any grain (such as quinoa, lentils, oats and barley)
  • Sugar
  • Dried Pasta

5. Learn How to Can Your Own Food
One of the best ways to preserve the food you grow is to learn the art of home canning. This is a skill that used to be taught to every member of the family. Nowadays, however, most people think it’s too complex and time consuming to bother with.

But when a jar of jam costs $5 or more, or when a jar of pickles doubles in price, wouldn’t it be nice to save money by doing it yourself while also saving you that gas-consuming trip to the grocery store?

I’m a big home canner and to me, canning is more than worth the time and effort. The food I can is incredibly cheap, and tastes far better than anything you can buy at the grocery store.

Learning how to dehydrate food is also a great way to preserve it.

Buy the supplies you need now, and teach yourself how to can, dehydrate and preserve your own food. If prices do skyrocket, you won’t be scrambling to learn this life skill when you truly need it.

6. Walk, Take Public Transportation or Ride Your Bike
If you don’t have a bike, invest in one. You can get a bike for cheap on Craigslist, or even for free on Freecycle.

If you live fairly close to the grocery store, attach a trailer behind your bike to more easily carry your groceries home. The bike trailer many families use to cart their kids around in can be had for song if you buy it used online (again, check Freecycle) and they work great for hauling groceries.

If you live a long way from a grocery store, drive half way with your bike, park your car, and then bike the rest of the way. This will reduce your gas use by 50% for every trip. You can even ride your bike to work.

If biking isn’t an option, use your city’s public transportation (traveling by bus or train) to take you where you need to go. Granted, fares will likely be more expensive as gas prices go up, but it will still be cheaper than driving your car.

Final Word

Whether gas hits $5 per gallon or not, most of us realize that prices will go up eventually. Demand keeps growing while the supply keeps dwindling, so skyrocketing prices is just Economics 101. It will happen sooner or later.

Anything we can do now to cut down on our gas consumption and prepare for higher prices in the future will only help us save money and avoid panic when things do get tight.

What about you? Do you have any ideas to help prepare for higher gas prices?

(photo credit: Shutterstock)

Heather Levin
Heather Levin is a freelance writer based in Detroit, MI. She's passionately committed to living green, saving money, and helping others do the same in their life.

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Comments

  • erick

    Vote out the Democ Rats and RINOS that have stopped oil drilling and building refineries and power plants. Obama is a puppet of Soros and others who want to collapse our nation so we come crawling to the UN or whatever one world government is in place. Heather, if you live in a city you might want to buy a weapon for self defense, the police will be very busy protecting their own from the roving gangs.

    • Jcs50

      Your a moron. Learn to read we have an abundance of oil so it is begin sold overseas. So much for energy indepence

  • Karl

    Question for Heather or whoever can answer this:

    Is there any way to get a long term contract to purchase gasoline at a fixed price? This would be similar to gas or electric contracts, whereby the user is guaranteed a fixed price for one or more years.

    Locking in the price of gasoline for a couple years would be very useful.
    Thanks for any helpful advice.

    • tom

      This has already been done. Don’t know if it is still going on, but try the web. Tom

  • Juan

    For Karl, try MyGallons.com. If you decided to purchase, please mention that Juan Jorge referred you. My email address is [email protected]

    Regarding bringing it all on down, girl, there is no way I would be caught in the 3rd world hell hole that is Detroit. I agree with erick, get yourself more than one weapon and plenty of ammo, and start practicing self-defense, evacuation, etc…

    Best of luck to all!

  • http://www.davecleinman.com/evg.html Dave Cleinman

    It’s unfortunate that the oil industry has had a stranglehold on US politics and has thwarted every attempt to develop alternative energy, something that has been only played at for the last 40 years. Clearly more drilling is such a short term solution that its costs might very well outpace its gains. Only now, when oil is increasing in price at an enormous pace, is alternative energy being discussed seriously.

    As for protecting ourselves against higher gas prices, better public transportation would seriously help, as would bringing back the old concept of carpooling. Even things like low carb diets and drinking only water will help, since these are more filling per meal and cut down on the cost of meals.

    Part of the issue is the fact that in the USA, at least, we have had it too easy for too long and are not really prepared for a major crisis. Even so, communities can easily come together and start community farms, establish community stores, and their own forms of public transportation.

  • http://takepillsdie.blogspot.com Andrew Cauthen

    abandon ship

  • Summer Van Wagoner

    We need to do all of these suggestions (if we aren’t already- I have been doing most of this since the recession hit as it is), AND we need to drill in the US. We need to increase supply AND lower demand. That is the true “working together” that Obama needs to honor. We all know that his “new government” meant all Republicans should think he was so cool and ceiling breaking that they’d change their belief systems completely.

  • Katie Stubbs

    What about the college students like me out there who are trying to afford school while at the same time trying to afford having a vehicle? I have a minimum wage job and only work on the weekends and with the rising in gas prices, traveling to work is about the only thing I will be able to afford over the summer. So, how will I be able to save up money to afford college so I can eventually get a higher paying job?

    • Bobcowher

      Mrs. Stubbs,

      It’s very, very, possible to get a decently paying job with or without a degree. The key is to pick a decent industry, get in on the ground floor, and then start working your way up. I don’t mean this reply to be offensive in any way. I just hate to see people almost seem to give up when they can’t get a degree.

      I worked on various farms, normally with cattle, before being able to score an entry level tech support job. Less than two years later I’m making 27K and looking at a bright career path. I’m not saying that there aren’t some jobs that require a degree but if it gets to where you can’t get one, don’t just give up. Figure out what you want and get out there and take it!

      Sincerely,

      Robert

      • Es5898

        Honestly, us college students usually do not have the TIME to hold down a more stable, better paying job. Working on the weekends is all we can do when we have class 3, 4, 5 days a week. That is not a fair argument. Just because you don’t have a degree, doesn’t mean that you can patronize those would would like to pursue one.

  • Epocc

    If we work together and dont buy gas for ONE day , it’ll bankrupt and prices will go down . We need to fight back .. Face it.. Our economy is TERRIBLE -.-

    • Terry

      I think a week would be great for as that can go that long.

  • george

    heres a tip .
    tell fat ass america to start walking

    • bellus

      Tell your dumbass that those of us who don’t live in cities cannot walk to work, school, etc.

  • Kandice

    What we need to do it stop letting the oil companies screw us and make them actually pay for the cost of business instead of charging us for the fuel and the cost to prepare it for users. Their sales are up from last year and they are still going to get massive tax breaks by making threats to further raise gas prices and cut jobs. They are below scum.

    • Alexznumber1

      So tax them that is your plan? Then they’ll just raise the prices higher to compensate.

  • Teg

    Keep Chickens? ARE YOU KIDDING ME LMFAO. Screw that.

    • Alfred_e_newman_98

      “You can also keep chickens, start a beehive, grow your own sprouts, or learn how to forage for nuts.

      Living in an apartment in the city…I wonder what my landlord would think about chickens, beehives and a garden on my third floor 8′x8′ outdoor patio…I think I will go now and forage for nuts at the park…

      Brwahahahahahahahhahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa *tears*

  • jkent

    If we all agreed to stop and stay home for two or three days, no work no driving, no energy use at all what do you think would happen? We all know everything is up, but the paycheck. Grocery prices will go up and they won’t come down. We get use to paying the price it becomes law. I say everyone pick a date make the earth stand still. Can’t fire everyone.

  • Padutch

    Get Obama out of the White House and things will turn around. Hehas almost stopped our oil production here. Any one else would drill baby drill. It is time to get the tree huggers and dems out of government!!!

    • Ronnie Stanford

      Ignorance! What happens when all the resources we have are gone that make this country run? Its time to think smart and start planning ahead for the future of your children, and America. Sure its easy to “drill baby drill” but when its all gone will you still be around? I think not, so stop being selfish!

      • jgehb

        And you have a timeframe for “when all the resources we have are gone that make this country run”?

  • tm

    easy for people to say do this do that ,but if you got plenty of money or if someone else is paying for your gas or your rich this does not effect them like it does the poor and middle class people.

  • Bfletcher

    Oil prices are set by the global market… not the oil companies. You would think the American public would know this by now. With our failing educational system and the lack of honest reporting by the liberal press, I am not surprised that the public is uninformed. Monetary policy in the US is driving the value of the dollar down and oil is traded in dollars… so the cost rises…

    I think we can agree that oil companies may not require the subsidies (tax breaks) they are getting… but what do you think will happen to oil/gas prices if the tax breaks are removed?

    Stephen Moore, a senior economic writer for the Wall Street Journal editorial board, said aside from the Middle East, part of the problem is Federal Reserve policy, which he describes as inflationary because it is pushing extra dollars into the economy.

    “We’re seeing inflationary effects through these gasoline prices but we’re also seeing it in gold prices, copper prices and food prices. So I think (Federal Reserve Board Chairman) Ben Bernanke is as much responsible for these high gasoline prices as anyone,” Moore said.

  • Judyzap

    Here is to the beyond idiots that printed this article. 6 ways to prepare for rising gas prices…um duh..otay. How about small companies that have to have pickups…I will tell you since you are not smart enough to figure this one out telling people to buy small cars….idiot. The next time you need someone to work on your home and it involves calling someone that has to have a pickup…don’t bitch when they charge double for their service calls…..I seriously hope more and more people move out of Calif, we get gouged here.

  • mark

    i get half my food for cheap by going though the checkout & not scanning half of it (scan only the cheap ideams & not the expensive ones) and it works so that should be on there also to save gas go to a bus station and drill a hole in the gas tank (very dangerous you could blow up) and get the gas that way cause they hold a lot of gas and flee the sceen, useally do it for school buses, they don’t have any scurity, i take like gas tanks in my truck to the cheapest gas station and fill up a 60 gallon trast can of gas while the prices are cheap (could blow up and very dangerous around your house) this is all stealing but with the prices going up we have no choice

  • Sleepy D

    Have you considered the timing of the raise in prices at the pump? No disruptions in supply. No increase in refining costs. No refineries down for service. What then?

    About two months ago several state legislatures were reportedly considering raising or instituting a tax on gasoline. The oil companies immediately started raising the price of gas to thwart any additional tax.

    BACK in the 70′s a third party presidential candidate had a $0.50 sales tax on gasoline as part of his platform. Mr. Anderson stated that after deregulation the oil companies are going to raise the price of gas to what the market can bear. They will pocket the excess. He wanted that money to improve the US infrastructure of bridges and highways. Looks fairly prophetic now.

  • Sleepy D

    Get your legislatures to institute a tax on gasoline now! The market rate will be reached. The money will go towards helping communities build mass transit and upkeep our roads and the oil companies will continue to make money, albeit less. The price of gas will be the same . . . what the market will bear.

    • YeahhhhObummer

      There always has been a tax on gas…

  • Alive in Grace !

    Ok im 34 with 3 kids I have done this for years. I have saved my pennies made dollars into thousands. I set today with only a mortage as debt no other. To survive in a small southern town the cost is still exstreem.. To survive only the cost is $3300 monthly give or take. I do everything my self, home maintance, car mechanic, lawn care, construction, cook, garden, hunt fist to freeze or can.. We are as conservitive as one can be. It is exspensive to live period. I pay $800 a month for insurance thats medical, home owners and car. I get zero from this nothing we work so much and eat so healthy were never sick. But you will pay dearly if someting happens and you dont have any of these. What about retirement 401ks, IRAs, College funds, save save save.. Combined we make 80k a year anyless and you can not do what needs to be done.

    • Mojoman4719

      I make 12k a year, quit whining about 80k!

  • Gu

    Excuse me, but where do you live, Utopia? You’re actually suggesting the average American keep chickens to save money? I live in a small apartment in a rather sizable complex, go to school and work. Where in the world would i keep and how the hell could I care for a farm animal?!
    Secondly things like downgrading cars and moving closer to workplaces aren’t carefree choices people are open to make. If you own your house or car free and clear, people are a lucky and a lot less willing to start making unnecessary payments on something else on top of their expenses, and if they don’t selling isn’t and option for most people. Look at the foreclosure rate! That isn’t because people didn’t want to downsize, it’s because people couldn’t sell their homes for a fraction of what they owed on them, let alone buy another!
    Thirdly, I live in a major metropolitan area. We do not have public transport here, just a few scattered buses that are unreliable and completely irregular if you’re lucky.I have a 35 mile commute to work one way – not unusual where I’m from. Are you SERIOUSLY suggesting We ride a bike for that?!
    Articles like this are the purist of bullsh!t, suggesting that all Americans are living in fantasy land and can just arbitrarily make these choices without much or any effort or repercussion,

    • Gu

      But hey, looking back, I see you’re from the Detroit area, too. You should know all of these things. Seriously, living here and making all those suggestions is pretty ballsy, imho. Where do you live? The small part of downtown that the people mover happens to service? Aside from the crappy smart bus, where is there public transport here?!
      Also you’re from one of the most blue collar cities in the world where every single adult (even 15 y/o+) member of a family has a job. One car between 3-5 plus working adults? Are you in fantasy land?!

  • Gwen Reed

    UK petrol price is £6.27 gallon – $9.95 and different size gallon to USA and we can only buy in litres. We have rising prices everywhere. If we don’t make a fuss we will absorb it and the Governments will get away with it all.

  • Naely Himami

    in Indonesia, we have to pay 4500 rupiah/litter or 409 US cents for gasoline. in April 2012, the price is going to be rising, become 6000 rupiah/litter or 545 US cent. most of Indonesian doesn’t like it. but i am fine. they think it will make them poor. our government was trying to keep the price still 409 US cents for 3 times. but it can’t be more for this time. there’s no more budget for it. corruptor took it :( .and now people are doing strike and demo. they burned many things and make traffic jam in anywhere. may be they dosen’t understand that in other place oil and gas are more expensive than us.

  • Kyasarin

    There is no reason for gas prices to be rising in the first place. For one, American-drilled oil is being sent to the Middle East to be refined, which, shocker! costs a hell of a lot to ship. It would be so much cheaper to refine crude oil in America. Secondly, people are paying for additives. Raw gasoline has to be diluted because in it’s freshly-refined state it would blow up in your car, but most of the additives in gasoline do not make your vehicle more efficient and are not beneficial to the environment… but we still have to pay for it. While it is true that we cannot run our vehicle off fossil fuels forever, right now there is PLENTY of oil beneath American soil that we should be drilling, refining and selling only in America. Those people who protest oil drilling, off-shore or otherwise, better be walking or biking their righteous asses to work, because driving or riding in a gasoline/diesel-powered vehicle means they are complete hypocrites.

    • Inkydinkieparlevue

      When Mr. OMG-Bama took office and gas prices were rising then – he vowed to the American public gas prices would NOT rise and the American people would not have to endure the extra expense – people were crying “price goughing” – but you don’t hear anyone protesting about “price goughing” now – He also wanted to make it clear that Americans needed jobs and money to survive – this has, unfortunately, turned out to be one of the worst times in our history -and we haven’t seen anything yet – The American public is more than fed up with rising prices, inflation. Lies and more lies – There is absolutely NO reason for gas prices to be this high – there are some out there who cannot afford to drive to work much less use public transporation – if the gas goes up -the fees go up as well – there IS and always HAS BEEN plenty of fuel – enough for at least 250 years -you’re right – we should be drilling and refining and selling only in America – to America – wake up folks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/omarsaifsunny Omar Saif Sunny

    What date was this article published?

  • inkydinkyparlevue

    We all already know and are well aware prices on everything, especially food and fuel is outrageous. These two items are our lifelines – especially food. Not everyone can afford to do all the things necessary to stock up on food and supplies in case of an emergency whether it be natural disaster or otherwise. Our family consists of me and my husband and youngest son,who is in college, living at home, works a part-time job as well. My husband and I have just become senior citizens. We have to watch every single penny we earn; most people do if they are smart. We are serious about stocking up goods and supplies for future emergencies and rising prices. We know of folks who are purchasing rice, flour, sugar, beans, canned goods, etc. in large bulk from Costco, Sams, or even the dollar discount stores, watching weekly grocery ads such as buying goods 10/$10 – any kind of deal in order to stock up and be prepared. We have friends with food dehydrators that are preserving their fruits and vegetables as well as storing the dry good items in 5 gallon buckets. We have a garden and are freezing and canning all we can. If you don’t have space for a garden, there are folks out there who might “rent” you a space in their garden so you can have fresh veggies also. In the event of an emergency, dire need disaster situation, the grocery stores might be totally empty within 24 hours or less.We started preparing a place to store our food and goods and have purchased survival food items from Costco – Every COSTCO and SAMS is now selling emergency survival foods and emergency kits, supplies. Why? Because disaster is going to happen sooner or later. We are in the process (and it will take some time to do this) to prepare our own first aid kits (we have just completed 2 kits this month). If anyone watches the Jim Bakker Show on Christian television, his show sells emergency food and survival items as well – if you even get on the Internet and do a Google search for just about anything, you will see a pop up ad somewhere along the line for bulk-buying emergency foods. These emergency food buckets, with individually wrapped meals have a 20 year shelf life. Just do a Google search on survival items, survival foods, etc. You would be amazed and shocked at what’s out there; to see and read what folks are doing in order to prepare for disaster. When it comes to fuel, go to the hardware store or somewhere and get 10-20 gallon gasoline containers and fill them up – then hide it if you have to – stores cannot even keep guns and ammo on the shelf – what does all this say? There will be a time of tribulation and disaster – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! thank you and God bless!

  • Midwest Driver

    The problem with driving less and using less gas is it cuts back on money that goes to states for road use. So the alternative is raise gas taxes to compensate and what does that accomplish, “nothng”. We that live in arears where mass transportation is not a choice what then. This only hurts “every single” person in the United States, not just a few. I am not sure what can be done, but this “is” something our goverment could look into amd maybe earn thier money.

  • Msnursefefe

    Obama really has nothing to do with this. Gas prices has been going up long before he came to the Presidency. I remember when I got my first car back in the 90s and paid less than a $1 per gallon. Let’s be realistic here.

  • Larry Spoor

    Total Greed, and this is what is Driving our country back into the Deepest recession on record, there is no excuse for this to be taking place, Oil Companies don’t give a Dam about the Consumer or the devastating effects it will have on every one. This Flat out Stupidity, Ignorance, Arrogance, and somebody needs to step up and say, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH” and end this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Concierge

      tax them heavy and give it back to the people in a stimulus, and dont vote GOP the take money from them and support them as they bleed us dry.

  • AG47

    BUY SILVER!

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