How far out of the way should you drive to buy cheaper gas?
(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 in 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 in the price per gallon of gas at another gas station that is cheaper than your local gas station and farther away.
- Click the "Compute" button and the break-even distance will be displayed. Drive further than that distance and the trip will cost 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 to different gas stations.
The Cost of Driving to Buy Low-Price Gas
by Joseph Ganem
With gas prices so high, drivers are much more price conscious when it comes to filling up. It is common to check the Internet or drive around town to find the lowest gas prices. But expensive gas also means it costs more to drive around searching or travel out-of-the-way to the station with lowest price. We all want the best price, but the trip to get it might cost more than the savings.
So for gas savers where is the break-even distance when it comes to buying gas? The calculator on this page will figure that out. For example consider a car with a tank size of 15 gallons and it travels 20 miles for every gallon of gas consumed. Suppose the best price on gas is $3.90 at a distance station compared to $4.05 at a local station. If you enter those values in the calculator it will return a break-even distance of 5.55 miles.
That means that the motorist should not travel more than 5.55 miles out-of-the-way to pay the $3.90 price because that distance results in an 11.1 mile round trip and more than half a gallon of gas worth over $2 burned. The savings are wiped out. Use this calculator to find the break-even distance for the cheapest gas in your area. Try it with numbers for your car and local gas stations.
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.