NPR logo Gas is the New Curfew


Gas is the New Curfew

the easy life in CA
AP and Corbis Photos Reworked

Youth Radio's King Anyi Howell observes that gas prices have turned into the "fun police." [Those of you looking for comments about the "Unprotected Sex is the New Engagment Ring" segment should go here.]

"Since gas prices shot past $4 a gallon, my tank is the restricting factor whenever I want to kick it, and bust out of the house," he says.

Cruising is no longer the cheap pastime it once was. Long distance relationships are looking less seductive. And even a simple request to pick up a friend across town has become a more serious matter, Howell has found.

Do you agree? Has the price of gas become the "fun police" in your life? If gas isn't your new curfew, what is? Tell us in the comments below.

You can learn more about Day to Day's weekly series, What's The New What, here.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

yes, gas prices has crashed my social life. when i bought my car in 2001/02 it cost me under 15$ to fuel my car now it costs $40. I see my friends less often, date and go to the movies less often due to gas prices. I can not buy food and pay bills and still afford to fill my gas tank. due to gas prices i moved closer to work so i can walk instead of drive to work and still its a stuggle to buy gas from paycheck to paycheck.

Sent by Heidi | 2:03 PM | 7-10-2008

When my best friend needed a place to stay for the summer due to a breakup, of course I offered that she could share my apartment--but what has been best is that we can carpool, thereby meaning that we can afford to go out more than once a week to dance, dinner, or whatever. Previously it just cost too much to drive into LA (we live in Long Beach, California--30 miles south). This despite us both being late-20s white-collar professionals on salary.

Sent by Claudia Sherman | 2:35 PM | 7-10-2008

We are the Land of the more. And that makes me mad. Part of what made this expansive nation so great was the freedom to hop in our cars and go anywhere we wanted and not worry about it. Now I fret about any trip I make, even if just a few blocks away. I spend a lot more time living on a shorter leash and my neck is chaffing. But anger is a wasted emotion. I may be traveling less physical miles but am replacing them with virtual and metaphorical miles. I'm reading more books all of a sudden and visiting some pretty intriguing places without burning any fuel except my imagination. Still, I miss the smell of gasoline in the morning.

Sent by Rob Hill | 3:13 PM | 7-10-2008

This was too funny!

Sent by Cris Cerda | 7:03 PM | 7-10-2008

Absolutely my social life has been affected - not only does distance matter, but I'm also restricted to the hours our local public transit busses run. Forget taking a cab, because I might as well drive. It makes me long for the noisy days of living in the compact depths of urban apartment buildings.

The only good thing about gas being expensive is I've been able to get to know my neighbors a little better, and I managed to find a couple of hole-in-the-wall restaurants within walking distance of my house.

Sent by Wendy | 7:08 PM | 7-10-2008

As in any marriage, there are the good times, and there are the bad times. My wife and I are enduring "the bad times" right now, and we're working very, very hard on surviving them and rebuilding our marriage from the ground up. And because of that, we're essentially dating again.

Of course, we've had traditional dates, the kind where you hop in the car and drive to dinner. But more recently, they've taken a much less mechanized, fuel-inflamed turn. Enter: bicycles.

As winter ended, she decided that she was going to begin commuting by bike to work to save gas money, so she did the research and purchased herself a very nice bicycle. Her commute is about 11 miles each way through the rolling (and sometimes steep hills) of Connecticut. Pretty soon, she was biking to work as often as possible and felt ready to go out on her bike with me.

Already an avid cyclist, I regularly ride almost 100 miles per week as a diversion from life's annoyances and in pursuit of "health," whatever that is. But I'd never ridden my bicycle with my wife. That first ride was very short and, well, the word probably is "tense" for both of us as we discovered our limits. There were the physical limits, of course, but there were the mental, emotional limits. Could we joke with each other? (Yes.) Complement, or even criticize, each other on our riding technique or the like? (Yes.) Could we talk about the serious things of a relationship on a ride? (Yes.) Could we even talk over the huffing and puffing? (Well, sometimes.)

There have been other rides since that first ride. I've started riding to work every now and then (23 miles each way, also steep at times). And, yes, we've talked, we've learned, we've enjoyed each other's company. We've found "health." And we've saved on gas, too.

Though it's going to take me another 240+ rides and her another 400+ rides to pay for the bikes, the high price of gas has been, for us, a welcome addition to our life together.

(But now that we're riding, could we have cheap gas once again, please?)

[Also posted on my blog at .]

Sent by Bill Eccles | 7:29 PM | 7-10-2008

I've made some adjustments that I feel REALLY good about. I walk to work (50 minute walk) 4 days a week. I ride my scooter the two times during the week I can't walk to my destination. I drive my car once a week to do the grocery shopping. More simplicity = more happiness = mother nature smiling on me. I wish it hadn't taken the price of gas to motivate me to make such a positive change.

Sent by Miele | 7:51 PM | 7-16-2008

Bankruptcy is the new re-fi

Sent by Jay Davis | 11:45 AM | 7-25-2008

Gas prices becoming the fun police....hmmmm. It does play a factor, but I like to think in a more positive way - I use my car less, I've learn to spend my money wisely, and have discovered more spend-thrift ways to enjoy my weekends: camping, hiking, learning a new recipe. So maybe soaring gas prices are less like the fun police, and more like that strict seventh grade math teacher we all used to have....

Sent by Cherisse | 10:54 AM | 7-26-2008