Newt isn’t a cheap truck to drive, and I knew that when I bought her. That doesn’t make her bills any easier to pay though. In September, I paid Newt’s California DMV fees – $780 plus the 57 bucks for the SMOG test. I also needed a complete brake job; that set me back $1,032. ┬áThat’s more than two grand, and I made the regular payment which is a number I can’t even stand to share. And before you judge me too harshly for having “champagne tastes,” I bought Newt very gently used. She had 22,000 miles which shaved a ton off her price tag. Even so …

Yesterday’s price per gallon, and this is one of the cheaper stations in town.

Yesterday morning I had to stop by the gas station; my fuel gauge said I could go about 100 miles which means closer to 75, maybe. I drive 50 miles a day, so I couldn’t put it off any longer. Newt’s fuel tank is one of my favorite features of the truck. It holds a whopping 48 gallons. Yes, you read that correctly. I no longer ever have to get gas with the horse trailer in tow. I can always get where I am going and back on a single tank. If I were to travel to Sacramento or Las Vegas, I’d have to fill up before I came home, but those trips are pretty rare.

As much as I love that 48 gallon tank, it is a bit of a sock-to-the-gut to fill it up from empty, which is where it was yesterday morning. Number one, it takes a good 15 – 20 minutes to pump that many gallons; I had to leave extra early to allow for that much time. Second, I can’t fill up my tank with one swipe of my card. The pump only allows you to charge $99 at a time, and that’s not even close to what it costs for a fill up.


Plus the 35 cent fee for using my card = $99.

At more than $4.00 a gallon, it doesn’t take long to reach the maximum of $99. It took a mere 23 gallons to hit that mark, just under half a tank. When the pump shut off, I dutifully replaced the nozzle, let the machine clear, and swiped my card a second time. As I sat in the driver’s seat scrolling through my messages – what else are you going to do for 15 minutes?, I watched that top row of numbers fly by much more quickly than the numbers in the bottom row.

The second go round.

When the pump clicked off for the second time, I quickly calculated my total charge – $180 and change for 43 gallons. That’s enough to get me to work and the barn and home again for the next 10 days. By mid-October, I’ll need to do it all again, and I have a show at the end of October which requires at least another half a tank. This is going to be another expensive month.

I bet diesel is a lot cheaper in Tennessee … or anywhere outside of California for that matter.