With the kind of outrageous excursion that we're putting together, it's clear that our fuel costs will be among the most expensive elements of our budget. And when we initially began planning, it was the beginning of the summer - a time that saw the highest gas prices I've seen in my entire life, ultimately reaching a high of just over $4.11/gal, according to AAA.
However, our luck has changed for the better on this front, as the national average for this essential commodity has plunged to a jawdropping $1.82/gal as of today. That's a drop of more than half, in less than six months.
This could be a gamechanger for us. Our original plan, when mapped out on Google Maps from city to city, gave us a trip that lasted just over 9,000 miles. In a car that gets 30 mpg on the highway, that meant 300 gallons of gas. We'd estimated that gas could go as high as $5.00/gal by the beginning of June 2009, so between the three of us, that would bring our gas total to $1,500 - or $500 a head. Bearing in mind all the different places we planned on visiting, this was still a fairly reasonable price tag.
But look at the state of things today - we have reason to celebrate the sad condition of our poor economy. If we left now, and gas stayed steady the whole time, we'd conquer that original route for less than $600 in gas costs. And frankly, if that were the case, we'd be pretty upset at ourselves if we didn't spread our 100 days around to some other destinations.
So that's what we've begun doing, starting with the additions of places like Key West, Minneapolis and the Dakota Badlands to our itinerary. As soon as I'm finished writing this post, Joey, Sarah and I will be discussing whether we can't add on a few other stops on our way, among other things.
As enthusiastic as we all are for a new president and his plans to save our economy, we looooove these gas prices. Here's hoping they stay put for a while.

-Tom Stanley

Photo courtesy wwlp.com

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