What's New

Five ways your unit can cope with skyrocketing gas prices

Don't let this photo fool you. Buying gas is not a pretty sight right now. (Photo by vl8189 on Flickr)

When your pack, troop, team, or crew sat down several months ago to create a budget for your next big trip, you and your Scouts thought of everything—except soaring gas prices.

Six months ago, gas was $2.69 a gallon on average. Today, it’s $3.49. That’s a larger increase than even the most foresighted Scouters could have predicted.

Let’s say you planned a trip to a camp that’s 200 miles from home, and 10 leaders are scheduled to drive. That’s 4,000 miles of driving (roundtrip).

If the cars average 25 miles per gallon, you’re talking 160 gallons of gas. Taking that trip will cost your unit $128 more than it would have six months ago. Most Scout units would rather spend that extra $128 somewhere else.

That higher cost grows for larger Scout units or longer distances, of course.

But short of canceling your trip—nobody wants that—what’s a cash-strapped unit to do?

Here are five tips to get you started:

  1. Consolidate your caravan. Do you really need 10 Suburbans to haul 30 boys to camp? Probably not. Create a “seating chart” of leaders’ vehicles to maximize space, and make sure that each boy and adult has a seat belt.
  2. Get some payback. Many Scout units reimburse leaders who use their personal vehicles. On Facebook, Scouter Mike D. said that his troop pays 33 cents per mile. And Tim H. told me that his troop added $3 per person to event fees to cover higher gas costs.
  3. Take turns. If your pack, troop, or crew doesn’t reimburse drivers, consider a scheduled rotation so that the same group of leaders doesn’t have to eat the travel costs every weekend.
  4. Swap your ride. Consider alternate forms of transportation, such as buses, trains, or planes. On Facebook, Scouter Peg T. said that her unit has secured a bus fleet for an upcoming trip. Get some quotes and determine what’s best for your specific situation, because it could be a bus rental. An added bonus of riding a bus: It’s a great opportunity for your guys to bond through conversation and group songs.
  5. Be flexible. If you didn’t pay a deposit for that location 350 miles away, why not consider somewhere closer to home? That was Scott L.’s advice on Facebook. By looking at closer locations, you’ll save money and can start having fun sooner.

How is your pack, troop, team, or crew coping with higher gas prices? Leave a comment below.

8 Comments on Five ways your unit can cope with skyrocketing gas prices

  1. Related to this topic: @BechtelSummit tweeted the following article yesterday. You may be able to take the train to get there.

    http://www.wboy.com/story.cfm?func=viewstory&storyid=95458

  2. Lots of Scout units visit Glacier National Park (and use our base camp) via Amtrak. Its a nice ride from Chicago or Seattle.

  3. Dennis Welch // March 8, 2011 at 6:50 pm // Reply

    A few years ago when I ran my own business, I would drive my delivery truck to campsite hauling all the equipment leaving more space in the other vebhicles for the scouts and other leaders. When a delivery vehicle like mine that has decals on the side, it advertised my business and so I could write off a portion of the mileage at the end of the year on my taxes.

  4. Jerry Judd // March 15, 2011 at 6:54 pm // Reply

    Another option is to reduce the equipment you bring, i.e. forget the patrol boxes and car camping for backpacking gear.

    • Great idea, Jerry. Reducing weight is a good way to improve gas mileage.

  5. We hold one or two fundraisers a year with the money going specifically to our gas fund. This allows us to not charge boys for gas and keeps trip prices down.

  6. Louie White // March 15, 2011 at 10:51 pm // Reply

    I like the first tip, but I like to have at least one extra vehicle in case of breakdown to haul the otherwise stranded scouts. Also it allows for less crowdedness during the long ride. an alternative is having AAA towing Premium plan for trips under 200 miles will negate the extra vehicle and cost about the same for a single trip. Extra trips would then pay for the AAA annual premium.

    re:1. 1.Consolidate your caravan. Do you really need 10 Suburbans to haul 30 boys to camp? Probably not. Create a “seating chart” of leaders’ vehicles to maximize space, and make sure that each boy and adult has a seat belt.

    • Good point, Louie. Maybe there’s a “happy medium” between too many cars and too few.

1 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. 100 Days of Scouting – Day 29 | Scouting in NKY

Join the conversation