Grappling with Gas Prices
To calculate how much you’ll spend in gas to drive to your weekend getaway -- or just whether it’s worth a longer drive to a cheaper store for that matter -- check out cost2drive.com. The site will calculate cost using local gas prices for your region and route. If your trip is longer than 200 miles, it will show you where the least expensive gas stations are along your route, and it will compare driving costs to current airline fares. (If you’ve found that your vehicles mileage differs from official EPA numbers, you can click on “Can’t find your car” and enter the miles per gallon you’ve come to expect.) The service is also available as an iPhone app, which can be downloaded for free through Memorial Day.
Cost2Drive only calculates fuel cost, so if you want to look at the larger picture of car ownership, check out the Clean Car Calculator. It compares any two new vehicles using purchase price, anticipated future cost of gasoline, and driving style to determine which one makes economic sense via fuel savings. The service is particularly useful when comparing hybrid or electric vehicles that tend to have higher upfront costs but lower annual operating costs than conventional cars, offering charts that show how many years it will take the high-priced but high-mpg car to break even with a cheaper vehicle.
Photo by iStock/Mccaig
Reed McManus is a senior editor at Sierra. He has worked on the magazine since Ronald Reagan’s second term. For inspiration, he turns to cartoonist R. Crumb’s Mr. Natural, who famously noted: “Twas ever thus.”