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Could You Survive on One Tank of Gas For the Summer?

It's Summertime, and gas is expensive. So what's a savvy college student to do? If you're Danni Brancaccio of Vancouver, Washington, you attempt to survive the entire Summer break on one tank of gas purchased by your parents. The Northwestern University student is about halfway through the tank in her 1997 Honda Civic, and is on track to head back to school without ever visiting a gas station during her time at home.

Danni takes the bus to work during the week, and because the round trip is 30 miles, she says, "Every day that I don't drive to work, I save a gallon of gas." She walks and carpools on weekends while getting some rides from her parents. All of Danni's revised transportation habits have saved her about $150 so far, and she's lost about five pounds from spending less time in the car. Danni is tracking her goal on her blog, One Tank or Bust.

Granted, many of us don't have parents around to give us rides when we need them, but how long do you think you could manage on one tank of gas?


daisymay81 daisymay81 9 years
Definitely not. WE have no public transportation in my town. I do ride two work with my husband at least 3 times a week so that does help cut down on one car. If I want to see my parents that is over half a tank in itself. I have to agree with silverlining in that she isn't really saving money she is just letting her car sit there while other people haul her around. Riding her bike is good but having her parents take her places so she won't use her gas isn't practical for most.
Silverlining10 Silverlining10 9 years
Also, I get gas once a week ($63 for my sedan) because I drive up to a town 40 miles away twice a week. So, this wouldn't work. Also, I don't have anyone that can give me rides.
Silverlining10 Silverlining10 9 years
I agree with absolutromantic, carhornsinapril and bransugar79. If her parents bought her the tank of gas, then she has them use their gas to drive her to work, I don't think she's done anything except have her car sit there and be insured. Her parents were spending the same money they would have if she drove her car around and they paid for her gas. The money is coming out of their pockets either way.
bransugar79 bransugar79 9 years
It's a little hypocritcal to me actually. She claims she's doing this great service by cutting down on her fuel consumption however she'll happily consume someone else's fuel as long as she isn't paying for it. Seems more like a leech than a conservationist but that's just my humble opinion
Ryot Ryot 9 years
The CNN article on this had a quote from this woman, saying that sometimes she borrows her parents' car to run errands, so she can stretch her one tank of gas further. So she's obviously used more than a tank of gas already this summer, just spread out across multiple cars. I could make my current tank of gas last until the end of time, if I drove my husband's car instead! So the story itself is kind of ridiculous. Up until last week, I was going through two tanks of a gas a week. I had a 150 mile round trip commute, two to four days a week, and since my car is the more gas efficient (and fun to drive, ironically), my hubby drives my car on the weekends. I can get nearly 450 miles to a tank, but still, the commute adds up. But I quit that job and now I'm back to 99% telecommuting, with only the very rare trip into the city for meetings. Even with the weekend driving and the occasional meeting, I expect to be able to go back to filling up my car once every three or four weeks.
Taadie Taadie 9 years
I have to be available to drive anywhere in 3 counties pretty much at all times and work out of two offices. Yeah, public transport in crap here and im contractually obligated to own a car but i wish that i could survive on one tank.
crystalm07 crystalm07 9 years
Unfortunately in my current city this would be nearly impossible for me with the lack of dependable public transportation and/or family members for rides. I would love to move to a big city where I could rid myself of my car completely!
Beauty Beauty 9 years
At least a few months. I don't own a car, and when I drive, it's through a car-sharing service. So I drive maybe five miles a month. If I "share" the Prius, that's maybe eight months? Not bad! Now, if I lived where my parents do, in the country? Not long. Maybe a week.
ummyeaitsmarcie ummyeaitsmarcie 9 years
Just barely two weeks. No public transit where I live, unless you count school bus routes (I can't use them so I don't) Also, I would never ask my parents to drive me to work and then have them come pick me up, that uses so much more gas.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
Whoa, I last maybe 2 weeks on a tank of gas... :oops: I should do more to conserve, but it is hard with a 4 year old who has to go to school and activities and playdates!!!
GeriAnne1932 GeriAnne1932 9 years
When I lived in Milwaukee, I went a month on a tank of gas. I thought that was pretty good. It's a strange predicament when people say that public transportation isn't safe, because if more people took it, it would become so. I used to take the bus somedays in Milwaukee, which is known for crime/murder and never had a problem. It's just an assumption a lot of people make because of the people who ride the bus HAVE to and god forbid we mix with people like that. I know I know, crime happens. But I'm just saying, some times people just need to give it a chance.
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 9 years
I could very easily do this for the rest of my life. I hate driving. I would love to just take mass transit and bum rides from family or friends for the rest of my life. No problem!
em1282 em1282 9 years
Woo-hoo, valancyjane! Weinberg '04! ;) Is it sad that I'm also proud of the fact that Colbert graduated from there as well? :) I miss it sometimes, even though I don't live very far from Evanston! (I still go there to hang out sometimes, and to eat at my friend's sandwich shop right by the purple line Noyes stop...they're too good to give up. I wonder if it was around when you were there? I agree with your points, too--neat idea if you can do it. I know I can go without driving--I share a car with my sister, but rarely *need* to drive thanks to the CTA and the fact that we live close to bus and train routes--and because of that we save a lot of cash.
poizenisxkandee poizenisxkandee 9 years
ha when i read the headline i said to myself "if i was in new york, chicago, or boston, maybe" i am also going to college in the fall, in chicago; and since i failed my license test a few times; i dont have a car/need gas; and the cta is fantastic, so ill have no problems. and, as a student, i get a U-Pass, which means i dont even have to bother paying train fare every time.
valancyjane valancyjane 9 years
em1282 - I'm a Wildcat too! Medill '99 ... This sounds like it started as a stunt -- else why would she have blogged about it? But still, it's a neat idea. I couldn't have done this in my hometown, or even now, really - to get on the bus route that stops near my office, I'd either have to walk 2-3 miles round trip to the stop for that route or get on at a closer stop and allow 2 hours travel/transfer time. With a commute of maybe 15 miles round trip, I fill up 2-3 times a month.
md12398 md12398 9 years
i don't like the fact that she's getting rides from her parents. i'm all for saving money, but when it's at someone else's expense, that's a little ridiculous. also, i wonder: is she contributing to the carpool driver's gas?
faerymagick15 faerymagick15 9 years
We just started get bus service in our area and the public transportation system around here is downright dangerous. I wouldn't want my daughter taking the bus EVER! She is 27 miles from work and equally as far from her school so saving money on gas like this girl did...NOT doable. Not where we live.
skigurl skigurl 9 years
i dont use my car to get all the way to work but even driving to the park and ride every day i'd use more than this in a summer...not to mention road trips!
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 9 years
No way. I live in FL where everything is built so far apart and I don't trust our buses here to get me to work or school on time. At least I have parents who give me gas money when I need it and they also pay for my car insurance which helps me out ALOT. :D
absolutromantic absolutromantic 9 years
I also think it's kind of silly that she's paying car insurance for her car to sit there unused all summer. Talk about wasting money...
em1282 em1282 9 years
Heh. She's from Northwestern--of course her parents bought her the gas. (Kidding. Kinda. Hey, I went there, so I can make that "joke".) Sounds like an awesome project, but again, like many of you stated, this only really works in places with reliable public transit.
alikat07 alikat07 9 years
When I was in college I didn't even have a car... so yes I survived on that the whole summer! I live in Sacramento so I'd take Amtrak and BART in to the Bay Area, a shuttle between Sacramento and Davis. While at school I rode my bike everywhere. However if I had to do this now, I couldn't! I still take a shuttle to work and save a lot on gas, but there are days I drive because it takes me an extra 30 min each way to take mass transit and that extra sleep is just so sweet somedays. Plus I drive to the Bay Area now - since I go with my husband its probably less. Amtrak is stupidly expensive.
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
fortunately i live in NYC where i can take the subway and/or walk just about anywhere but otherwise i don't know if i'd be able to manage on one tank of gas. in NJ where my mom lives, there's really no public transportation available to take with the goal of saving $$ and the same goes for where i used to live in FL. you really do have to drive everywhere cause riding a bike isn't realistic with the weather and the distances that you have to go to get anywhere.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 9 years
The bus system here is chronically late, so I'm not sure I'd be willing to risk it. I usually go a week and a half per tank of gas.
mlen mlen 9 years
i go through a tank a week. there is no public transportation like that near me and between work and school i sometimes commute 70 miles a day. o and i live in the middle of no where so even going out for fun involves a trip.
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