We have great benefits at Microsoft. One category of benefits involves commuting which includes free bus passes, Connector buses, and designated parking spots for carpools/vanpools. For example, I take the bus to work a couple days each week using my free bus pass. TB and I are registered carpoolers for the times we ride together.
Carpoolers share a single parking badge which must be displayed whenever a vehicle is parked in one of the designated spots. On several occasions when we both drive, I have admittedly broken the rules by parking my car in a carpool spot without the badge. Four or five times over the past 10 years I have received parking violations from Microsoft Security reminding me that I cannot park my car in a carpool spot without displaying the badge. Nothing more has ever happened but each citation stated the violation would be recorded and my car is subject to immediate towing.
Well, yesterday, Halloween, a Friday when I was at work until 7:30 PM, the big payback hit like a sledgehammer. A security officer with the initials JH had the 626 towed, y’all. My baby was in lockup for the first time.
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About a year ago I wrote about tracking the gas mileage for my Mazda 626 and the price of gas here on the eastside of the Seattle metro area. Here is a quick update so you can see how both have changed over the course of a year.
The "AVERAGES" row above is cumulative from June 2004 when recording began. Below are the averages restricted to the date range displayed in the chart above (Oct 16, 2006 through Sep 12, 2007).
Comparing this past year to the overall numbers:
- I go slightly longer between refills (27.5 vs. 23.9 days) and put more gas in my car (12.6 vs. 12.0 gallons) each time.
- My mileage (MPG) average of 25.6 continues to trail the historical average of 26.8 since moving closer to work. Considering how much closer we live (5 mile vs. 17 mile one-way commute) my MPG average remains very respectable. (Hypothetical high-five to the Mazda engineers.)
- All the "Price Per" entries (PPG, PPM, PPD) are more a reflection of the increasing cost of gas than my driving habits or car. Below is a chart showing how gas has increased almost 50% in our area between June 2004 and Sep 2007.
Note that May is still the worst possible month to take a road trip. I am considering making May my official public transportation month.