Wednesday, July 26, 2006


When I went to Augusta last week, I was pleased to discover that the closest gas station to my new apartment is across the river in South Carolina...... and the gas there is 20 cents cheaper. I always figured Georgia had a pretty low tax on gas, but I guess South Carolina has got us beat. For those of you not as privileged, there are some ways to find cheaper gas. is an easy and well-laid out resource. Just type in your zip code and find the cheapest gas around.

However, as my friend Gene points out, there are some people who will drive a long way to get the cheapest gas or sit in a line at the gas station waiting for the cheapest gas as their engine idles for minutes. That's just faulty thinking. If you drive 5 miles out of your way to get gas that is 5 cents cheaper, is it really worth it? Let's assume that the "average" car can hold 20 gallons of gas and gets 20 mpg (this is factoring in everything, from Hummers to hybrids), and that gas prices are $3.00. If you drive 5 miles each way, that's 10 miles total, so you use up 0.5 gallons, which equals $1.50. In return, you save 5 cents per gallon, and for 20 gallons, that's a savings of $1.00. You're 50 cents in the hole already, not taking into account the time you wasted driving there. Of course this varies according to your car, so here's a formula to figure out whether you should make the trip:

(total distance from gas station*cost of gas)/car's mpg = travel costs
difference between gas prices*gallons purchased = gas savings

If your travel costs are larger than the gas savings, then it's not worth the trip. Save yourself the time and energy and just go to the closer gas station.

However, there is a much easier way to save on gas prices: change the way you drive. Many drivers drive too aggressively and burn up more fuel than they need. Check out these articles which examine how to increase your fuel efficiency.

  • Consumer Reports

  • Edmunds

  • Note: Again, I apologize, I'm still on a Mac. Not that I have anything against Macs, but some things just don't seem to load correctly on this browser.
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