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Pitching In Gas Money

Recently, several of us were invited to a mutual friend’s birthday party. The party location was approximately 60 miles away. I told my husband I would be happy to stay sober to safely drive him home. A couple days before the party, another couple contacted me and asked if we could ride together. I said that since I’m already the designated driver, I didn’t have a problem driving more people. My car only seats two, which they know. On the day of the party, I hadn’t heard from them whether or not I could use one of their larger cars (I realize I should have simply come out and asked), so I borrowed an unrelated friend’s larger car. We go to the party and have a good time. Before making the hour and 10 minute drive back home, I tell them I’ll have to find a gas station. This elicits a whole conversation from them about the high price of gas, and how the borrowed car gets horrible gas mileage. Yet no one pitched in a couple of dollars.

While at first I thought that I should simply have asked for the money, they were the ones who brought up the gas prices while I was filling up the car. Clearly, they knew that gas costs a lot right now, and saw me putting gas into the car that gets poor mileage. I am curious as to why a simple $5 wasn’t forthcoming, yet for me to ask about it felt as if I were being too blunt at that point. To me, it’s like when I am invited to a friend’s house on a hot day, and after waiting around for 20 minutes or so, I have to ask for something to drink. I feel uncomfortable indirectly pointing out what a person should be doing. But perhaps I’m the rude one, since it’s not like people are able to read my mind and magically know what I expect.

I welcome your opinions! 0305-12


{ 103 comments… add one }
  • erica September 10, 2012, 12:53 pm

    I think there was some overkill on the OP’s part.
    I would never borrow someone else’s car to make it more convienent to drive around a other people (who have a perfectly good car and should they want a designated driver, should offer it’s use).

    I don’t think they were intentionally being rude or even obtuse…Yes they should have offered as they did ASK for a ride. They weren’t just invited to tag along unless I read it wrong.

    If they asked yes…they should have offered $5 for gas
    If you offered….no, you willingly took on the burden without discussion of the gas usage.

  • Kyra December 21, 2012, 1:02 pm

    My friends and I often trade driving duties. Several times we drive into the nearest big city, which is about an hour away. On these trips (and other similar long ones) someone will volunteer to drive with the caveat ‘if you guys chip in a few dollars,’ or ‘will you guys chip in a few dollars? The OP knew that the polite thing to do with a borrowed car is to fill up the tank. When the other couple asked if she would drive them as well, her response should have been ‘Sure! Would you mind chipping in a few dollars for gas?’ And courtsey then dictates that the other couples response be ‘No problem! We’re happy to help!’ Asking up front to help offset the cost of a borrowed car would have helped her avoid the resentment I’m sure she feels.

    I’ve been reading this website and it seems like any talks of money are not very polite, but in the case of gas, or restaurant bills, it’s so much easier to talk about it upfront instead of awkwardly later, or not talking about it at all and being angry about it.

  • NostalgicGal December 27, 2012, 6:29 am

    Some clubs and social stuff I belong to, we often carpool, gathering at a place in town then fill cars or pickups and go to X, and I always give the driver $2-5 right at the start for taking me with. A few drivers protesteth so I always have quarters if I know I will be riding with them and I will either dump the quarters into their purse and shake it gently to get them to slide in, or toss it in their glovebox!

    Some of the others if one in the car forks over they will too. It’s only right as we often have to drive a goodly ways for an eat out gathering. (one particular place is 40 mi round trip). Yes it was discussed at meeting and it is SUGGESTED, but. Still, it is something that should be discussed when making the plans, as Kyra mentions.

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