With New Power Comes New Responsibility: How Do You Use That Power?

As soon as we brought our new van home, I realized we now had new responsibilities to go along with it. I’m not just talking about maintenance and care of the new vehicle, but now we have the ability and in many ways the obligation to be public servants to our friends and family that need transportation. Of course I’m being a bit sarcastic here, but when you have a larger car, don’t you somehow feel obligated to taxi others around when you have extra seats and are going the same place?

Even before we had the vehicle registered, we had invitations to help out and travel others around wherever we went. We have no problem with this, especially if we are going the same direction. We have been on the other end of the stick as teens and even have had to get rides as adults and are happy to help.

My parents in California invited us, as well as my two brothers that live here in Utah not too far from us, there in a couple weeks for a special event . One of these brothers is a college kid with no money, no job and no car. The other brother has a steady job but doesn’t make as much as he’d like or as much as he needs due to debt and has a beater car that probably wouldn’t make the trip. Both of my brothers would probably either have to ask someone else going to California for a ride (it’s not as hard as you might think to coordinate rides even over long distances between friends and friends of friends, by using Facebook) or not go to this family event at all.

With our new van, I thought it would be fun and helpful to my two brothers if we let them ride with us to California. It’s close to a twelve hour drive and it would be more economical to travel together and it could be a lot of fun but I agreed to this on one condition; that each of my brothers pay a third of the gas on the trip down and back.

I’m pretty frank with my brothers. They know I won’t beat around the bush about anything with them and I will tell them what’s on my mind at any given moment. I’m not this way with everyone but these are my brothers; we grew up together, I know all their faults and they know all mine. We have a pretty good relationship and they know they can come to me for any reason, and I feel the same way about them.

Nevertheless, I did feel a little bad about asking them to pay for gas because I know that neither of them have the money for the trip and they will probably both end up paying me back on a schedule. My younger brother even asked me if there would be interest accrued if he didn’t pay me back immediately. I of course said no and I have no problem waiting for repayment.

I also know that if it were a friend, distant relative or even an acquaintance that needed a ride, I would be happy to help out and offer them the same deal but asking them to pay for gas would be much more awkward because I don’t have such a close relationship with them and perhaps they would feel like I was taking advantage of their need as I was going on the trip with or without them.

What is your take on this? When you drive others around, do you make them pay a fare as if you are a taxi driver? Does it make a difference on how far you are driving? Or would you rather just turn them down flat and avoid the whole situation?

Image by Jack Amick

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4 People have left comments on this post

» Jeff sustainlifeblogNo Gravatar said: { Oct 8, 2010 - 07:10:15 }

I'd have to say that I think it's fair to charge gas money for this trip – It's 12 hours, which means it's 1500 or so miles. Normally for road trips, I'd expect all participants to split the cost, but for shorter day trips, I wouldnt mind picking someone up if they didnt have a car and giving them a ride some where (it was done for me regularly enough during the 5 years I didnt have a car). However, I'd probably become annoyed if the favors were over-requested.

Also, UWYO-UTAH in 2 weeks! GO POKES!!!
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Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Yea, we don’t charge when hauling friends and family around town, that would just be cheap 🙂 but you have to draw the line somewhere.

and GO POKES!! Woo! (what is a poke anyhow?) Will you be at the game?

» KNS_FinancialNo Gravatar said: { Oct 8, 2010 - 08:10:40 }

I think on these types of trips splitting gas should be expected. Sometimes you make an arrangement like I'll buy the next tank and you buy the next round on snacks – or something like that.

I love driving, and so I don't really mind taking the trips – but I definitely don't like being taken advantage of.
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