Gasoline Expense

Eight two cents a Litre for Gasoline in Ottawa

Last night I was astounded and thought, “What a difference six months makes”, when I filled up my van with 50 litres of gasoline and it cost me $41.00 . Six months ago that exact same amount would have cost me over $60.00 . The dramatic drop in the price of gasoline in the past few weeks has been astounding and now I wonder whether this is the anomaly or whether what happened in the past year with the price spike is the anomaly. My guess is gasoline prices are going to be manipulated a great deal over the next 10 years and we will all be paying for it.

Remember to check gas prices in Ottawa at Ottawa Gas Prices.

I am not sure what the price of fuel is in Toronto, however, if I make a round trip there, these prices could mean a savings of over $70.00, which is significant, and shocking.

I am now very curious to see what the Consumer Price Index will reflect with this price drop, in the next month or two. What will this deflationary drop of a major consumable do to prices? What will it do to all of those new projects in the Resource Industries, now that gas is cheap? What was the break even price for extracting gas from the tar sands again?

It was Oil Prices All Along

More interestingly there was an article this week that blames sky rocketing oil prices for the economic collapse (in the Financial Post). Jeffrey Rubin from a Chief Economist at the CIBC stated:

“By any benchmark the economic cost of the recent rise in oil prices is nothing short of staggering, a lot more staggering than the impact of plunging housing prices on housing starts and construction jobs. And those energy costs, unlike the massive asset writedowns associated with the housing market crash, were borne largely by Main Street, not Wall Street, in both America and throughout the world.”

Other economists disagree like Frank Atkins from the University of Calgary who said:

“The inconsistency in his story is that he had oil prices going to US$200 and the TSX going over 15,000,” Mr. Atkins said. “He did not have in his original speech oil prices destroying the economy.”

I think I agree with Mr. Rubin somewhat, but I think the housing collapse in the U.S. helped out as much as oil prices to create a “Perfect Economic Apocalyptic Melt Down”.

Congrats President Obama

Interesting results in the Presidential race in America the question most Canadians are going to ask is, is he really going to re-open the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)? I really hope not, unless it would be to make trade even fee-er. In these interesting economic times, I would think the last thing anyone wants to do is restrict trade in any direction, but then again, if it somehow appears to create American jobs, that may be exactly what happens.

Quebec Election Cometh

Just when you get bored with politics, Quebec his about to announce another election, and will the Separatism Leviathan appear to scare the rest of Canada? Who knows, but if Quebec politics is one thing, it is most certainly not boring! Stay tuned this could get interesting again folks.

Ontario a Have Not Province

For the first time ever Ontario will be receiving equalization payments from the Federal Government and everyone is having a good laugh about it. The more interesting part of the equation is that Newfoundland and Labrador are now a “Have” province, and will be paying into the system more. This certainly is a changing financial landscape here in Canada.

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My House is worth 67% More

A classic from 2008. Are houses an investment, or are they merely somewhere where you lay your hat?

My house is more valuable than the day I bought it about nine years ago? That is not a bad investment. I base this all on the wacky assessment notice that I got from MPAC . I don’t actually believe the evaluation as a real value that I would get if I sold my house (without taking into consideration all of the associated costs with selling a house), however it is an interesting number to start with.

The actual evaluation will not be implemented right away, it will be gradually raised until 2012 when this value will be in place, which is more interesting, since if the housing market in Ottawa remains robust, my house may be worth even more by then? Maybe not, but it is something else to consider in this wacky equation.

Does this mean I will be paying more property taxes? Given that my evaluation has gone up about 11% from the evaluation I had in 2005, I think my property taxes will not go up that much in reference to this evaluation, however, my guess is other charges from the City of Ottawa will increase my property taxes by a fair amount this coming year. My first property tax bill arrives some time in January.

Percentage of Home Ownership

If I am to assume that this evaluation is relatively close to what the market will pay for my house, it does change how much (as a percentage) of my house that I own. Figuring out how much I still owe on my property, I actually own about 60% of my house currently, which is a reassuring feeling, however, it’s not like I can jettison 40% of the house and thus be out of debt. 

The other problem is, all other houses around me are appreciating in value as well, so the value of my house as an investment is not that great, in that it is unlikely I will move out of it and into a much cheaper house in the near future.

Gas Below 90 cents a Liter

Speaking of wacky, in Ottawa gas dropped below 90 cents a liter for a little while, which is very interesting. The Canadian Dollar has swing like a pendulum, but now with lower gas prices, suddenly traveling becomes much cheaper than it was going to be six months ago. Will gas prices stay down? Don’t know, but it’s nice to see for now, as it makes running my cars (and snow blower) much cheaper right now.

Stocks Still Dropping

The world continues to be jittery about stocks and they continue to drop in value for now. Rate cuts continue in most countries trying to stimulate spending, but a lot of folks are just worried and are going to keep their money in their wallets for now, until they are sure their jobs are safe.

More Job Cuts

Rumor has it that my former employer will soon be adding to the employment pool, by laying off another 18% of their work force (I have heard, this is unsubstantiated rumor), which will make looking for jobs in Ottawa that much harder. Not all the job losses will be in Ottawa, but their continues to be a steady flow out.

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Long Weekend Gas Prices

Long Weekend Gas Prices

I note the gas prices in Ottawa have inched their way back up by about 11 cents in the past few days, in preparation for the long weekend. Am I saying this is a conspiracy? If it isn’t all contrived, then this is the most amazing coincidence I have seen. Our van continues to sit in the driveway, because it is just too expensive to use on long journeys.

The coming weekend brings a great deal of turmoil and excitement. My eldest daughter is off to University out-of-town, my middle daughters are preparing for High School and my son prepares for nursery school. September is always an expensive month for my family due to many activities and school ask for money and then the inherent expenses of returning to school (clothing, school supplies, bus passes, etc.,).

Is it time to turn off the Air Conditioning? I think it is, but we shall see how bad allergies and such are, since opening the house up, inevitably means me sneezing my head off (and thus buying antihistamines and such). Which is more expensive, running my A/C or buying Claritin in bulk?

Today is the day I return my equipment and a set of forms outlining what to do with my severance package as well, which is a bit of a milestone as well. I will outline how this works, once I am sure how things will work, but the opportunity is if I can find a new job quickly and thus use my severance as a significant financial “hammer”.

Enjoy your long weekend, drive carefully wherever you may be going, careful of gas prices and speed traps and relax.

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Dropping Gas Prices?

Gas Prices and Inflation

With gas prices dropping back to only ludicrously expensive level, what is this going to mean for the Consumer Price Index? The spike jumping from 90 cents a litre to $1.35 a liter is still sifting through the pricing world, and now we are back to $1.20 a liter? This is going to be an interesting few months that is for sure, and I am not sure I am going to completely understand the CPI numbers either (coming out this Wednesday). I know that my family is most certainly not driving our Van as much as we used to and are driving my Carolla a great deal more.

More Cents Not to Work?

Like the punny title? It’s an interesting quandary my family has currently, which is, my wife has been working a volunteer job, that she has enjoyed over the past few years. They are now formalizing this position and are putting out a tender to fill this position, and they want my wife to apply for the job, but here are a few of the points that we must take into consideration:

  1. The job is about 10 hours a week which would pay about twice minimum wage, so not a huge amount of money.
  2. If my wife cannot find a nursery school to put my 3 year old son in (we were planning on doing this any how) we may have to find day care to cover this job.
  3. This may be just enough money to make my wife NOT a tax deduction on my taxes (thus I lose the $1200 worth of rebates I would get if she had no income).
  4. If (3) is true then her income effectively is taxed at my rate (if you think about it)
  5. They are asking for a 3 year commitment
  6. She’d have to do some driving for this job too, which is now much more expensive.

Points (3) & (4) are the ones that have me not so sure that it makes any sense for her to take this job. If (2) cannot come to pass, then the job is out, because I am not paying for day care for a part time job (this is not Quebec where we can get a $10 a day daycare spot).

An interesting quandary, which I will keep my gentle readers posted on, but I am curious to hear any opinions about this kind of issue.

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Gas and Money Saving Idea ?

My wife and I have fallen into the daily trip to the grocery store trap (very dangerous, because you just never figure out how much you are spending until you do your Quarterly Financial Report).

We came up with an idea, that I am pretty sure we can’t live up to, but I throw it out to the folks who might also have fallen into this gas wasting, and money wasting trap.

Premise: You are spending too much money going to shop every day for groceries, and you are wasting gas doing the trip every single day.

Walk !

If you really want to save money on gasoline and your car? Walk ! Walking is exercise, good for you and saves you money, so why aren't you walking more?
A good walk

Yup, if you are going to go to the grocery store every day, you must walk there ( we will accept cycling there or taking the bus, if you have a bus pass). I will allow for if you go shopping on the weekends, you can drive 1 day, to pick up a “weekly order“, however all other times you must walk.

Why walking? Am I a Physical Fitness Wacko? Nope, but let me be more precise:

Benefits

  1. Exercise (yes, you, the one that is eating that second donut, I mean you). For me the walk is about 1.5 km each way, maybe, I tried it out today, and it is about a 55 minute round trip proposal. Exercise tends to help your appetite get under control as well.
  2. You will only buy what you can carry home with you. If you are taking the bus, you might want to put a limitation on this, but if you are walking, you aren’t as likely to over buy, because, you know how much you can carry all the way back home.
  3. There will be days where you go, “We don’t need fennel that much”, and not buy it that day. You will then not buy the donuts, and/or other things that you might impulse buy too.
  4. You save money on the gas, and now, that is not chump change either. If you cut out 5 trips a week? Over the year that could add up to some serious money.
  5. If you go with your wife, it gives you time to walk and talk without the kids around too!

Flaws

  1. It’s pouring, and you just ran out of milk for your toddler, because the teenage locusts drank it all.  (sorry dear, the big cajun wife is driving)
  2. You need your meds and have run out of your prescription (no plan of this kind should be life threatening). Go get your meds, you are allowed to take your car!
  3. The walk to your grocery store is over 5 Km (one way), then I guess it’s ok, but my bet is, you don’t shop every day if that is the case as well!

As I said, me and Mrs. C8j may try this out, we did on Monday, and it was quite nice, but I was on vacation that day as well.

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