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.

About Bryan Wendell 3282 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.