Are Friends Entitled to Free Transportation?

Instagram: @kiahsays

In an effort to check something off of my Summer Bucket List, I hopped on the train this morning on a mission to USC (to write) and then I planned to visit the Skirball Cultural Center. I wanted to see the Noah’s Ark Exhibit because it sounds too cool not to. I was so hurt to find that it would take me 2 hours to get there from campus and 3 hours to return home to Compton. THREE WHOLE HOURS!

The cheapest gas in LA is $3.89 and my tank is currently riding below “E.” (As it has been for the last month or so…On and off)

This morning’s disappointment got me thinking about gas prices, carpooling, and the question many nice people like me HATE to ask their car-less friends: “Do you have gas money?”

I’ve been driving my friends around since before I even had a license. I received my car as a gift for my 16th birthday (Thanks Gpa!). Needless to say, I have thousands of wasted miles on my car because, you know, I like to have fun Β πŸ˜‰

Now that I am legitimately broke, (I’m so broke, I’m surprised Bank of America hasn’t shut my account DOWN by now), I have been exploring the foreign realm of LA public transportation. If I were living anywhere else, say London, New York City, or even Boston, this wouldn’t be so daunting. LA’s bus and rail system is lacking, to say the least. Not to mention the risk of getting robbed or killed in these ruthless streets. (I’m only halfway kidding) It’s safe to say that I hate the LA Metro for it’s inconvenience and occasional sketchiness, but I feel like I don’t have another option at this point other than…

Is it wrong to ask friends for gas money? I mean, your CLOSEST friends that ride with you everywhere? (And the random passengers, too)

It’s one thing when your friends own cars and you’re constantly alternating, but what if a vast majority of them don’t? Do good friends provide their loved ones with free transportation or should we break out the calculators we stopped using after high school and calculate mileage, MPGs, divided by passengers for any given trip?

I really am torn on this issue. I LOVE my friends for always being down for my random causes, including 5am runs to the beach and late night donut runs, but unfortunately, gas isn’t free. I feel “mean” for even writing this, but that has to do with my own fear of confrontation (I’m working on it, I promise. Haha)

Do you charge your friends gas money? Do you feel comfortable asking them for it? Should frequent riders feel compelled to offer you gas money out of the goodness of their heart? Or are you implying free transportation every time you offer to drive?

Please comment with your thoughts. Let’s talk GAS! (That was corny, I know)

7 responses to “Are Friends Entitled to Free Transportation?

  1. This is a pretty tricky situation. I think for long road trips (ex. 1hr+) it’s definitely okay/fair. I always offer to chip in for situations like those because I wouldn’t want to inconvenience my friends. But trips to the mall are a little tougher. Maybe if you’re going somewhere like the mall or movies or something, a friend can pay for popcorn or buy you something? Or if you really want them to pay for gas you could try expressing how much you love hanging out with them and totally don’t mind giving them a ride, but would really appreciate if they could chip in a couple dollars for gas. If you’re taking them somewhere you’re not going, then they should offer to pay. I’m not perfect and I definitely have room for improvement when it comes to carpooling with friends, but those are my thoughts… lol.

    • thanks for your thoughts! it’s always much easier to ask for money on a long road trip, but like you said, it gets tricky for routine trips lol im guessing this will be an ongoing issue for drivers, but at least the dialogue has started πŸ™‚

      • yeah, it’s definitely going to be an ongoing issue. and no problem! i’m actually going on a road trip later today, and i’m carpooling and am planning on asking the driver if i can chip in for gas. haha. =)

  2. I have this same exact conundrum! I’ve thought about this a lot over the past few years being at USC and there are a few conclusions I’ve reached.

    1. It is a blessing to others to give them rides and lend my car out and that is part of the reason the Lord blessed me with a vehicle in such a terrible city for transportation.
    2. Asking for help gas with money does not take away the blessing aspect from others.

    I think it can feel really petty to be nit picky about gas money. For me personally, I’m learning more about my own issues with pride and asking others for help when it comes to this. In an ideal world, I’d have my tank full and ready to transport anybody whenever, taking gas money only on long trips. But the reality is, I don’t have near enough money to always be putting gas in the tank when countless others are in my car for free almost the same amount of time.

    So what I’ve personally been working on is just asking people to chip in before we even decide that I’m driving. It’s sometimes really hard to admit that if we go somewhere I’ll need at least a few dollars for gas help (how much difference can $3 really make, right?), but those tiny trips add up really fast and before I know it, I’m on E when I filled up a week ago! I rarely put a number on it, but usually say something along the lines of, “I can drive if everybody chips in some for gas.” Not everybody always has cash or anything to chip in, but those are times when they can maybe spot you on something wherever you’re headed, or maybe another passenger in the car can give a dollar or two on their behalf.

    When I lend my car out, I always try to remember to tell the person that they need to replace whatever gas they use. Sometimes I forget, and sometimes people don’t, which can be super frustrating, but I’ve more often than not found that fighting my pride and just getting that one sentence out makes a huge difference.

    One other thing I’ve learned on this subject is not to assume that people will give you money! I was raised in a home where you always give people some sort of compensation when they do you a favor like providing a ride whether it’s gas money or buying their meal. Once I moved to LA and quickly became a go-to person for rides, I quickly started to have resentment towards my friends for not automatically giving me something in return. Instead of being thankful when the occasional $10 of gas money came in, I was angry that it was the only time in months. I felt unappreciated and spent a ton of my money. After a lot of reflection, I realized that my pride was in the way of everything. I didn’t want to admit that I had a problem asking for help, so I blamed my monetary troubles on my friends because they were “inconsiderate”. All of this could have been avoided by simply opening my mouth and being honest with people about where I stand with gas money. I ended up being honest with the regulars who ride with me about my frustrations, money situation, and new rules about giving rides. They were all super loving, apologetic and forgiving!

    This was a super long post, but this has been a huge thing for me!
    I hope my experiences are able to help you!

    And for all those passengers reading, offer your friends some compensation! It’s hard to always be the one asking for money and the occasional person offering it first situation can really help out a driver’s attitude!


    • wow. thanks so much for your response. I definitely think my apprehension has a LOT to do with pride and I will start working on that asap!! this helped me so much. thanks again πŸ™‚

  3. in no uncertain terms is it wrong to ask friends or anyone for gas money..its a mutual exchange. and any friend worth their salt should offer you gas money or something to compensate (like food) so that you’re not put in this awkward position.

  4. super late…but like one of the previous posters have posted it is a little tricky when the trip you are going on is somewhere YOU want to go and you just want a rolling buddy. As a person who is always down to ride I always still chip in, HOWEVER, i never feel obligated when the person I am rolling with has asked me to join them even if it is to somewhere like the mall.

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