Should I drive to Jersey for the cheap gas?May 11, 2011 11:39 AM   Subscribe

Is there a website that will tell you whether it makes financial sense to travel to a gas station with cheaper gas?

I guess it would need your vehicle mpg, the RT distance to the cheaper gas, the price of your local gas, how much gas you're buying, and the price of the cheaper gas. Ideally it could give you the price differential beyond which it makes sense to make the trip. Anything like this out there?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

GasEdge. Found by googling:

`gas "worth the trip"`
posted by axiom at 11:50 AM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

No website, but, the most gasoline will differ between two stations in a metro area is \$0.20/gallon. [citation needed], I understand, but practical experience seems to confirm.

Average tank size is 16 gallons. Most you'll save is \$3.20 by going from one station to another.

Average cost of a gallon is more than that (\$3.79 in my area).

So, factor in miles per gallon, city (US average is 21 miles). And you'll get the following formula:

If Station 1 is where the more expensive gas is, the formula is:

(Num Gallons Needed * (Price at Station 1 - Price at Station 2)) / (Price at Station 1) * Fuel Efficiency (in MPG) = Maximum Radius you can drive to save money.

For instance:

I need 15 gallons.
Station 1 Price: \$3.50
Station 2 Price: \$3.30
Fuel Efficiency: 24 mpg

((15 * (\$3.50 - \$3.30)) / \$3.50) * 24 = 20.57 miles, Max Radius, for it to be worth your while.
posted by The Giant Squid at 11:53 AM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

Also note that your other operating costs dwarf your fuel costs, combining that with the value of your time (as dgeiser13 mentions) it's probably not worth driving anywhere else for fuel.
posted by straw at 11:58 AM on May 11, 2011 [3 favorites]

My mother-in-law's boyfriend is neurotically cheap about certain things, including gas prices (when we're in his car, he notes every station's price). They live 15 miles across the river in another state which averages \$.15 higher price per gallon. He fills up when he's over here, but does not make a special trip.

Personally, I figure if I always go to the same place, if possible, sometimes they'll be high, sometimes they'll be low, and at least I won't be paying *extra*, but I haven't wasted a ton of brainspace on a dime. However, if you insist on worrying about it, notice all prices on your way to work, or wherever, and go to the cheapest place on the way back.
posted by notsnot at 12:11 PM on May 11, 2011

I've always thought the cheapest place for gas is the closest gas station to your car at the time it needs gas. It's wasteful to haul more than a ton of metal across town to save 15 cents.
posted by BostonTerrier at 3:02 PM on May 11, 2011

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