Although the price of a gallon of gasoline has dropped about 40 cents over the last month, the resulting (lower) price is still OUTRAGEOUS! One good thing about the high price – it has reduced the unnecessary travel for many people. It has now become necessary for me to calculate how much it costs to travel from my home to the nearest town. I now consider it an $8.00 trip to go into Hammond, LA!
In order to determine if it is worthwhile to travel a few extra miles to get a lower price in gasoline, you need to know:
- The price per gallon at the various locations
- The number of miles per gallon that your vehicle uses
- The number of miles to each of the locations
With that info, you can calculate the amount and price of gasoline for such a trip. You should use that price to weigh the alternatives: whether to travel a longer distance in order to get a better price. Or, if it would be more cost effective to visit a local store and pay a slightly higher cost.
An effective way to get the majority of that info (all but your mpg) is by using the MapQuest gasoline price search. Just visit the site, enter your home zipcode and hit enter. There is even a simple calculator that will figure the cost of any trip for you. Note: hit the “distance” button on the left side (just above the list of outlets) in order to bring the map down to street level.
Here is a copy of the map drawn for my area. Click on the map to enlarge it.