With gas prices up 37% nationally since this time last year, Americans have grown accustomed to driving a little bit further just to find a “gas bargain”. 

But, is it worth it?

Based on today’s national average gas price of $3.00 and assuming a 15-gallon fill-up and a 20 miles-per-gallon vehicle, a car owner would need to see 1 cent savings per gallon at the pump for each extra mile driven in search of better gas prices.

Broken down:

If gas costs $3.00 per gallon and the car gets 20 miles per gallon, it costs 15 cents/mile to drive the car.

If the car fills up with 15 gallons, a one-penny savings per gallon would yield 15 cents in savings.

15 cents is the same amount of money it cost to drive the extra mile to the “cheaper” gas. 

This isn’t an absolute, of course.  The one-penny-per-mile rule varies according to several factors:

  1. The gas mileage of your vehicle: The worse your car’s gas efficiency, the fewer miles you should drive to find less expensive gas.
  2. The savings at the pump: The greater the savings at the pump, the more miles you should drive to fill-up at that gas station
  3. How much fuel you plan to buy: The larger your car’s gas tank, the farther you should drive for savings.

The best way to save money on gasoline is to curb automobile usage and follow good driving practices.  Then, trying using gasbuddy.com to find inexpensive fueling options in your area, listed by zip code.

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