Rising Gas Prices: Is it Worth it to Drive Across Town?

We’ve all done it, driven by one gas station to find another one who is selling gas for $0.02 a gallon cheaper. With gas prices nearing $3.50 a gallon, people are doing everything they can to save money on this necessity.

The question is, how far is too far to drive for cheaper gas. Let’s take my 15 passenger van as an example. I get 14 miles per gallon in that beast and the van as a 30 gallon tank.

Gas Station A is the closest gas station and is selling gas for $3.50 a gallon

Total cost for a fill up $105.

Gas Station B is one mile further away than Gas Station A and costs $3.48 a gallon.

Total cost for a fill up $104.40.

Gas Station B savings = $0.60.

But that isn’t actually my true savings. My van gets 14 miles per gallon, so each mile I drive costs $0.24. My actual savings is $0.35.

Now I realize not everyone drives a 15 passenger beast, so let’s use a regular car for our example. My husband drives a sedan that gets 25 miles per gallon and has a 16 gallon tank.

Gas Station A is the closest gas station and is selling gas for $3.50 a gallon

Total cost for a fill up = $ 56.

Gas Station B is one mile further away than Gas Station A and costs $3.48 a gallon.

Total cost for a fill up = $55.68

Gas Station B savings = $0.32.

The sedan gets 25 miles per gallon, so each mile driven costs $0.14. The actual savings is $0.18.

Let’s use one more example using my husband’s sedan.

Gas Station C has gas for $3.42 a gallon and it is 2 miles away.

Total cost for a fill up = $54.72

Total savings over Gas Station A = $1.28

Actual savings = $1.00

It seems to me that it isn’t worth it to drive significantly farther away to get a better deal on gas. When gas prices soared two summers ago I read about people driving across town to save less than $0.05 per gallon. These calculations show it isn’t worth it to drive more than a mile or two to save money. While it might be harder to pay a higher price per gallon for gas, if it is the closest station you might actually be saving money by paying more.


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Comments

  1. We had a camping trip planned from our home in northern Indiana to the farthest western tip of the Upper Peninsula in Michigan. We’re rethinking it. Our 15 passenger beast hauling our 35 foot camper only gets 7 miles to the gallon. I did the math…$5 a gallon will cost over $1,000 in gas alone. Eeek! If gas does get that expensive we’re definitely going somewhere a lot closer!

  2. stacy says:

    I personally think that the way we’re going to see significant savings with the way gas prices are going up is to not drive as much. I walk to work and many times walk or bike to the store. The cheapest gas in my area is already $3.70 and it’s going up almost daily.

  3. SPKarenO says:

    This is why its important to not wait until you are empty and HAVE to get gas. Instead fill that tank up when you are near that cheaper gas station. You are saving tons. But if you eliminate the distance you do save.

  4. Heather B says:

    Ugh I just passed $3.77 on my way home from my mom’s tonight. Today was a crazy, frantic gas wasting day. So I’ve decided to make it my goal to not need to buy gas for the rest of the month. We filled up today and my husband walks to work. We MUST drive about 17 miles round trip each week for my son’s speech therapist, and about 8 miles a week for school. The grocery store is a hop, skip and a jump form school, so I’m thinking this is actually a doable goal. I may take a notebook to the car to jot down my mileage for each trip to track where the waste is.

  5. Katie says:

    In the UK – its £6.95 a gallon which is roughly $10.43

    So we would swap any day!!!! In fact it cost my husband around $525 a month to just get backs and forwards to work.

    AND in the UK we don’t have coupons for food.

    But hey at least we don’t need health insurance because hospitals etc are free for all (no matter on circumstances).

  6. Brenda says:

    Wow, I never looked at it that way! I drive a Suburban and I cringe when I have to fill my tank…I guess driving to save a bit is not worth it. Thank you for the new insight.

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