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Thread: Gas costs

  1. Default Gas costs

    how does everyone figure out how much money to budget for gas? we're new to road tripping and are not quite sure how much to budget in for gas..
    any tips would be helpful!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default As it happens...

    ...we have a handy-dandy Fuel Cost Calculator right here!

    And welcome aboard the RoadTrip America forums.


  3. #3

    Default whats the future price?

    the gas calculator may be helpful but who knows what the price of fuel will be in a week or two. monday i paid $2.98, today it was $3.07 and they said it would be up again next week. i will figure it at $4.00 and if it dont go that high then ill have extra to spend on whatever....

  4. Default

    The method I use over estimates gas prices a bit, but as noted by someone else, if I don't spend as much as I expect then that's more money for other things.

    I estimate the distance. Typically I use to estimate point to point distances. Then I add between 10-20% for margin and local trips. That's my estimated miles to go.

    I know the mileage of my vehicle (a Toyota Sequoia) pretty well. Not surprizingly, if I'm on the highway my mileage goes up about 20-30% over stop sign-to-stop sign city driving, so I'll get around 20 mpg on the freeway, fully loaded including a cargo box on the roof. I estimate at 17 mpg though, again to give me margin and in recognition of that I'm not going to be on the highway at all times. Between the distance and the mileage of my vehicle, I can estimate the gallons I'll need of fuel.

    Gas prices are an estimate --, which links to, provides average gas prices down to the postal code. But I'll typically use the California average price, and add 5-10% if I'm going to be getting gas in remote locations or on the superhighway (where its more expensive than in a local, suburban gas station). Future gas prices? TBD -- your guess is as good as mine.

    This tends to produce a higher estimate than my actual expenses. But I'm more confortable knowing that I've underspent my budget than overspending...

    When I'm camping and roadtripping gas is my largest single cost -- running around $50-80/ day on average when I'm making miles (my vehicle isn't the highest mileage vehicle on the road, I know). When camping on a trip, lodging costs typically $20-30/ day, and meals and other incidentals $20 (assuming dinner is prepared at camp, not in a restaurant). Entrance fees, souvieners, etc are in addition to this. And it should be noted, that this cost is just about the same for 2-4 people per day, as one per day.

  5. #5
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Gas prices will be *throws dart*...

    I agree with everyone. There really is no way to accurately predict how much gas will be a week from now or a mile down the road. I like Larrison's "Overestimate" rule though. But even with that you're still doing what the title of this here post is.

    My best advice when it comes to fuel for trips: overestimate, and make sure you got room on that platium card. It may not be best, but at least you can get home (at 19% interest).

    If you do use a fuel price list or something, I recommend going with the highest price fuel along your route, adding about .30 cents/gallon or so for comfort, and making that the "standard" price for youre entire route. In theory, this should put you far enough over the actual amount you would expect to pay for fuel at the time you did your research. Its the method I'm using for looking into some in-state trips I'd like to take in the next few months.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default A little perspective here

    The difference in the cost of fuel between prices from two years ago and a year from now is almost irrelevant. If you figure a 500 mile trip and 25 mpg and gas prices at $2.25 versus $ 3.40, the difference in the cost of the fuel is a whopping $23.00 about the price of one meal in an average restaurant.

    So the increase in fuel cost will have a relatively small impact on any one road trip. What the increased fuel costs do affect is the the day-to-day expenses of commuting and working. It is those cumulative costs that could affect how much money we have for roadtrips in year or more from now.

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 07-08-2006 at 08:35 AM. Reason: fixed typo

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