It is hard to imagine a world that didn’t constantly worry about the rising cost of gas, but there once was a time when families could fill up their tanks for less than a dollar and never contemplated alternative energy. Now we live in a time when we can scarcely go a day without discussion turning the constantly-fluctuating cost of a gallon of gas. If you are planning on taking an extended road trip, or even just driving to a vacation destination, you are likely to wonder “How much will gas cost on my trip?” early in the planning process. By being aware of the costs of gas, as well as the efficiency of your vehicle, you can effectively plan your vacation budget so that you are not stuck with both an empty tank and an empty wallet ten miles outside of your destination.
Why Do Gas Prices Fluctuate So Much?
It is impossible to offer just one clear-cut answer to how much gas money will be spent paying for gas going from one point to another because various factors impact not only the cost of the gas, but how much will be needed to complete the trip. Some of these factors include they type of vehicle that you drive, the route that you choose the use and the condition of that route, and the timing of your trip.
Car advertisements appeal to several aspects of the audience. While some members will be drawn to a sexy silhouette or the subliminal promise of success and social acceptance through ownership of this car, others will look for the safety features and the miles per gallon rating. Known as MPG, the miles per gallon rating of a vehicle is the calculated average number of miles that can be travelled using only one gallon of gas. You will notice that each car will have two such ratings. One is the highway rating, which will be higher than the other, the city rating. This is due to the fact that highway driving generally consists of smooth travel while city driving will require more frequent stops and speed changes, both of which impact your car’s gas efficiency.
On average, a larger or older vehicle will have a lower MPG rating than a compact or newer model. This is due to several factors, including the construction of the vehicle and the weight. This also applies to the decrease in gas efficiency when you are carrying heavy loads such as several people. Keeping this in mind when planning your vacation gas allotment is important because a vacation or road trip is more likely to cause a heavy load in your car when you add travel companions, supplies, and luggage to your vehicle.
The environment in which you plan to drive your car also makes a major impact on the amount of money that you can expect to pay for gas. Rough terrains such as uneven roads and hills will force your car to use more gas, faster.
If you are traveling in the summer you should increase the budget that you are putting aside for gas. This is because running an air conditioner is a quick way to burn through your gas. Even putting down the windows will cause drag on the car, which will reduce the gas efficiency of your vehicle.
How Much Will Gas Cost on My Trip?
When planning your trip you must be able to take all of these factors, calculate them with national gas averages, and map out not only how much you are planning to spend, but also how frequently and where you will need to stop. Fortunately, you don’t need to do all of this on your own. There are websites such as www.costtodrive.com that offer a simple to use gas calculator that can take the various variables and translate them into a gas budget and refill plan for you. It takes only a few moments and you will have comprehensive, useful information for your trip.
The site will also provide you details such as the total distance you will be traveling and an estimate of how long the travel will take. You will be informed of the MPG as well as average gas cost that were used for those particular calculations. You will not only be told how many gallons of gas you are likely to need, but where you can stop for them along your path. Each of these stops will be further detailed with how far you will have driven up to that point, how many gallons to get at that stop, and how much the approximate total cost will be.
An example of what you will learn from this calculator:
Richmond, Virginia to Orlando, Florida
1999 Toyota Corolla
744 miles in 12 hours and 9 minutes
Starting with a full tank of 13 gallons
Add 10.19 gallons in Colleton Co, South Carolina after 397 miles
How much gas for my trip? $77.53
Despite the amazing detail and accuracy that is offered by these calculators, it is important to keep in mind that they are unable to account for things such as traffic, foul weather, detours, dramatic price fluctuations, or differences between your particular car and the averages of its make, model, and year. It is recommended that you add an additional buffer to protect you against incidentals. If you don’t use it, you can put it toward your next trip!
To make the most out of your next vacation, make the question “How much will gas cost on my trip?” a part of your early planning so that you can be prepared to enjoy the trip rather than stressing out over the cost of your next gallon.