(I mean, other than because he loathes water.)
No, it's about gasoline.
I'm taking a summer vacation this year for the first time since 1992, and I had planned to load Parker and his smelly blanket into my Volkswagen and drive to San Francisco with him. Only, I just filled up my car this morning, and for the first time ever I crested $50. For gasoline. In my bleeding Volkswagen. Which caused me to whip out a spreadsheet and determine conclusively whether driving with Parker out to California makes any sense at all.
It does not.
In fairness to the car, (a) this is Chicago, home of the highest gasoline prices in the country, and (b) the car, a GTI, has a high-compression engine that requires premium gas. But premium gas is only 20¢ more per gallon than regular, as it's always been, so that is no longer the differential expense it used to be.
To crack this nut, I did two calculations. Here's the estimate for driving. Distance comes from Google Maps; fuel economy comes from actual data with this car; fuel cost is an educated guess:
Now compare flying (airfare from American Airlines—I'm a frequent-flyer so I don't have a bag fee—using flexible dates, best price ORD to SFO in July):
Except, driving is worse than that, because owning a car entails other expenses. Over the life of my car, it has cost me 18.4¢ per mile to operate. Note that this includes those halcyon days of $1.25 gasoline, and does not include car insurance or the cost of actually buying the car, so it actually has cost me more than 18.4¢ per mile. Even with those obvious shortcomings, a more realistic calculation of driving to San Francisco looks like this:
Now the difference is $553, almost half the cost of the trip. And it gets even better if you consider that I have a big wad of unused frequent-flyer miles that can, if I choose, bring the airfare down to $5. Yes, five dollars (plus 25,000 air miles), making the difference between driving and flying $828—enough to do the trip again by air and still save significant cash over driving.
(Someone should calculate the CO2 costs, too. How much CO2 am I putting out by flying instead of driving? I think it may be a wash, but I'm not sure.)
I could take him in an airplane, but this really stresses dogs out, so I don't consider that a realistic option.
In any event, as fun as it might be to watch Parker run along a beach in California, it's just not going to happen.