Remembering cheap gas

I haven’t been driving all that long – I didn’t start until after I was married at the age of 19. Nonetheless, I have seen gas prices go up quite a bit.

Way back when we had 3 children, in the mid-to-late nineties, our family car was an inexpensive little Dodge Colt just like this:


It was a hatchback with 5 seats, and we loved it dearly. It got 40 mpg. We used to drive from east central Ohio to San Antonio, Texas to visit family for $40 each way. Saving and budgeting for a trip halfway across the country required about $80 in gas.

Now, we have 8 (soon to be 9) children. We outgrew the Colt long ago and it continued on as Hubby’s work car for many years; we outgrew the Suburban as a family vehicle 2 years ago and moved on to a well-used 15 passenger van. Now it costs us nearly $30 to drive to town and back.

The price of gas affects everyone in a great number of ways, but I can honestly say that the cost of gas has been one of the few areas where it truly does cost far more to raise a large family.

BTW, I just have to know: would you call the car above blue or green? This was an ongoing discussion for the 7 or 8 years that we drove the car and even still. One of us reminisces about the old blue colt, and the other remembers with fondness the old green colt.


  1. Too funny. Our Dodge Caravan is the same exact color and no one here (family of 7) can agree on whether it is blue or green. Hmmmm…
    I just have to laugh :-).

  2. Neala Stevenson says:

    wow! a 15 passenger van! we have 12 children with a van tht seats about 12 but my oldest daughter does watch the children when we go away 🙂

  3. To add to the conversation, I went to fill up our 11-pass. van today. It was only half full, but cost $61.00 to fill up. *gulp* Guess we’ll stick around close to home.

  4. David Bazley says:

    A lady whose husband is a contractor in Iraq told her gas in Iraq cost the equvalent of 20 cents per gallon.

    But it’s too far to go to fill up !

    Go figure.

  5. Amanda T says:

    I’m with blue.

    I feel physicall ill when I have to fill up our Suburban. I try to leave it to my husband. It still comes out of the same pot but I least I don’t have to watch it (lol). I saw a question on family feud recently about the most people are willing to pay for gas. The number one answer was $4/gallon! I wish we could go back to the $1 days.

  6. It looks blue to me! With the cost of gas now, you don’t go anywhere, do you?!!

  7. Does teal count as a guess??? 🙂

  8. I was looking at an older buget (5 years or so) and our gas budget was $40 a month!!! That won’t even fill up the small car these days.

    We are actually really having to look at our activities now, and probably are going to have to stop our music lessons because it costs $40 a week just to get there and back. The budget just cannot afford it these days. 🙁

    I think food and gas DEFINATELY cost more for a large family. We are one of the only families we know which spends more on food than our mortgage.

  9. I keep telling my husband we need to trade in our cars for horses and buggies! It works for the Amish. It would be a little hard to travel from Michigan to see family on the West Coast, though. “Are we there, yet?” “No, we’ve only gone ten miles! We’ve got 1,000 more to go.”

  10. homemakerang says:

    blueish greenish… depending on my mood(s) 🙂

    yes, we went to icecream the other night. the tab for 7 was $11- but my hubby told the children that the gas there and back was more than the icecream money… Gas is $3.39 in michigan right now!

  11. haha…looks blue from here =).

  12. David Bazley says:

    Hi Y’all:

    It’s a funny turquoise, right between blue & green. I think Perry showed me the car when we visited – summer of ’05 – or am I mistaken ? Anyhow, cool color.

    I’m sick of high gas prices, too. Diesel is outrageous. Funny how GWB went to Iraq 5 years ago (we won WW2 in less time), partly to ‘protect our oil supply’ – and then gas was $ 1.20 a gallon, diesel $ 1.10 a gallon.

    Or is funny not the right word ? Crazy ?

    Then again, closing down nuclear power, refusing to drill offshore in CA or FL and allowing only foreign countries to drill in the Gulf, plus not building any refineries for 30 years, it’s a wonder it’s not $ 15 per gallon.

    So, what do we do ? I for one am looking for a smaller car – it won’t fit our 7 persons, but we can do the smaller trips cheaper.

    You guys do live a ways out, I recall. I feel for you.

    Our place in So Cal was 40 miles from any shopping, my buddy just said today, it’s $ 3.80 for gas & $ 4.75 for diesel in LA. OUCH !

    The difficutly is, diesel costs add to everything because MOST products & commodities are delievered via truck, or rail which both use diesel.

    Then, I think of the genius(es) in our gov’t who required Ultra Low sulfur diesel to be mandatory in all pumps by 2008, when no domestic refineries produce it.

    It’s all brought in via ocean tankers from UK or European refineries.

    What but pure government idiocy could ever account for such a policy ?

    I hope that has changed by now, but it was true as recently as late ’06.

    We’re only 10 miles from town (Nacogdoches, TX), so we get about 2 weeks from a $ 100 fill – up. I’ve ‘fuel economy-ized’ our Dodge Van so it can get 18 – 19 mpg. Still not very good.

    New Sprinter vans – diesel – get an honest 22-24 mpg, but the passenger model is about $ 35 – 40 k , way much $$$ for our budget.

    Our trip back to CA to visit will have to wait. We’ll have to do more sitting at home – which isn’t an altogether bad thing !

  13. Your husband is a stinker.

  14. It’s blue!

    I’m only 29, married for less than 8 years. I clearly remember during our first year of marriage that gas was .99 here. Granted, I know we were known for being in the area with the nation’s lowest gas prices, but still! Who ever heard of that type of “inflation” (over 200%) on any other product in 7 years?!? And what’s more aggriating is why does it seem like there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it?

  15. I don’t even know how much it would cost us to fill up the suburban right now. Last summer at the peak of gas prices I stoped at $90 gas is much higher now. I put in about $30 and can go to church and back and couple other places but that’s about it. Hubby drives the mini van and he fills up for about $50 (and that van must have mid grade gas)

  16. That is a blue car.

  17. I see blue too. $30 to drive to town? We’re at about $50 now : ( with no good gas mileage vehicle to drive instead. I sure WISH our $100 tank of gas lasted us 2 1/2 weeks like Cindy’s does! Two trips to town and/or church and it’s gone!

    I can remember gas when it was under .70/gal. Am I dating myself here? I can remember it costing $10 to fill up my mustang. I can remember it costing $30 to fill up my 15 passenger van.

    That all seems like another lifetime ago!

    Recording the Faithfulness and Provision of God for Future Generations

  18. If the car behind it is red, then your colt was blue…

  19. I have to say blue… I am also thankful to know it isn’t just hubby and I that seem to see different colors. We used to have a white truck that hubby says was gray. 🙂

  20. Hey, wait. I was the one who insisted that it was blue. I said anyone who called it green was either crazy or colorblind.

  21. That’s a blue car

  22. I would say blue. We have 3 kids and just bought a minivan and now it costs us a small fortune to fill up our 7 seating van. I can’t imagine having a bigger one. I have been a long time lurker on your blog by the way. I love reading about your larger family and the techniques you use.:)

  23. That looks like a blue car to me…. We are currently selling our little Honda Civic, as Baby #3 is on the way. We will definitely miss its gas mileage!

  24. Well, I asked my boys who’s favorite colors are green and blue. The boy who’s favorite color is blue said a definite “blue” and my boy who’s favorite color is “green” as if there were no question! So my answer is it’s in the eye of the beholder, blue-green or green-blue 🙂

  25. We have a full sized van (12 seater) and it costs us $100 to fill up. Ouch. (it lasts about 2 – 21/2 weeks)

  26. Hannah C. says:

    That is definitely a blue car!

    My family had a red Subaru hatchback for years, then we got an Oldsmobile station wagon from the 80s, but those both died. Now we have two five-passengers and a minivan, and they’re all dying…We just take two cars on the rare occasions all of us go to the same place at the same time.

  27. Definitely blue. 🙂

  28. It’s blue.

  29. Okay, well, I was going to venture a “blue” answer, too, but Perry’s “neener-neener” took care of that!

  30. I vote blue. Is anyone in your family colorblind? You can check here:

    I used to do hearing & vision testing for the elementary school where my mom is school nurse and we used this same test.

    Our parents had, in succession (with some overlap), a VW Thing, a giant Buick, a 7-passenger Ford Econoline, a 12-passenger van, a Ford TBird, and an Acura TL. See where the family started shrinking again with the oldest boys growing up? 🙂 They still have the Econoline, too.

  31. I would say it is blue! We have 8 in our family and currently only own a 6-seat car … so for the time being we go nowhere as a family. Actually it’s been almost a year! We just have to be content to stay home a lot more than we used to and to be creative when we do need to go somewhere. I am looking forward to the day we do get a big van, but NOT looking forward to the gas prices!

  32. HA!

    See Hun… I told you 😉

  33. I would say the car is blue!! We have friends with 10 soon to be 11 children. They have a small car that they use to run to town. They do have an 18 year old daughter who can watch the little ones or ones left at home though. They have left their 12 year old with her younger siblings and she did well too.

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