The Journal Gazette
Friday, July 30, 2021 6:00 pm

Gas use back to 2019 levels after return to office

TOM PELLEGRENE JR. | The Journal Gazette

When my son was in a high school show choir, it was nothing to drive tens or hundreds of miles a weekend following the group to the places where it competed in Allen County and elsewhere in Indiana, Ohio and Illinois.

But after he graduated, the number of miles added to my odometer dropped off a lot. And so did my gasoline buying, from once or twice a week to twice a month at most.

Then COVID-19 arrived. The Journal Gazette's newsroom transformed into a remote workforce whose members worked from our homes. And although our reporters and photographers were still on the roads, some of us didn't drive much at all. Sometimes I went more than a week without leaving my place.

I bought a few gallons of gas every month for an outing and to get a minuscule discount from my grocer that would have expired if I didn't. But I never really needed them.

There was a lot you could do via the web, either with a computer or on a smartphone. Church via YouTube? Check. Order batteries, light bulbs and even toilet paper online and have it delivered? Guilty.

Except for a single out-of-town trip, I never drove more than 100 miles in a month.

Now, after almost 16 months in idle, the process has been reversed: We're back to work at the office, at least five round-trips a week.

And once you're out in the world almost every day, it's easy to remember places you want or need to go or things you want or need to do, which means the trips aren't direct. You make plans for days off that involve trips outside your neighborhood.

It's been about two weeks since our return, and I'm going to visit the gas station in the next few days because I have to, not because the calendar says so. That's 2019-level normal. It feels weird, but I'm looking forward to it.

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