Do you burn more money than you save buying cheaper gas in your area?
(Note: This calculator automatically calculates a round trip)
- In the first field, enter in the size of your car's gas tank in gallons.
- In the second field, enter the miles per gallon that your car gets.
- In the third field, enter in the price per gallon of gas at your local gas station.
- In the fourth field, enter the price per gallon of gas at another gas station that is cheaper than your local gas station and farther away.
- In the fifth field, enter the distance to the lowest price gas station.
- Click the "Compute" button and your total savings will be displayed. If the number is negative, the trip costs more than the savings.
GasBuddy.com - Use to find the most recent gas prices for gas stations in your area
MapQuest.com - Use to find distances for different gas stations
The Cheapest Gas in Your Area Can Cost More
by Joseph Ganem
Nationwide gas prices have reached $4 per gallon with no sign of an end to the price rise. It is now common to spend as much per month filling your tank as making your car payment. For gas savers, it certainly pays to search out the station offering the lowest gas prices. Many newspapers and Websites track current gas prices and tell consumers where to go, but before you set off on a trip to find cheap gas, think about the total cost. If you focus only on the numbers displayed on the sign at the gas station you might deceive yourself into thinking you are saving money when you might be spending more.
Let’s do the math. If you drive 5 miles out-of-the-way to purchase gas in a car that gets 25 miles per gallon, that 10-mile round trip burned 0.4 gallons. If you drove that distance to pay $2.95 per gallon to fill a 12-gallon tank, instead of paying $3.00 at your local pump, you actually spent a nickel more per gallon for your tank of gas.
If that computation took you back to those impossible word problems in junior high school simply use the gas savings calculator on this page to find out if your trips to purchase low-priced gas are burning more money than you save. The calculator computes your net savings on gas after accounting for the cost of the trip. If the resulting savings is negative you will spend more money than you save.
Joseph Ganem is author of the award-winning book: The Two Headed Quarter: How to See Through Deceptive Numbers and Save Money on Everything You Buy. Hear him talk about the book below.