Monday, May 08, 2006

[Gas Prices]

Calculating Your Price per Mile

Whenever gas prices spike, people do bizarre things, like sit in their car idling for 20 minutes just to buy gas that's five cents lower than the rest of the city. Whinging about price fluctuations among the states rises. And people even consider a slightly more sophisticated figure related to gas prices--their price per tank.

But the big difference is in your price per mile. If your car gets, say 30 mpg, then it costs you roughly ten cents a mile to travel around the city at $3 a gallon. But if you're in a 15-mpg SUV, you're spending twenty cents. Over 10,000 miles--the average one American drives a year--that begins to add up. For the 30 mpg Civic, a year's gas costs you $1,000. For the 17 mpg Ford Mustang, a year's gas is $1765.

I thus offer the following table, showing the price of gas for one year for several models of cars, at different prices of gas (these are 2005 model year mpg, not actual mpg).

Car (mpg)__________ $2.50/gal__ $3.00/gal___$3.50/gal
Toyota Prius (55)
VW Jetta Diesel (42)
Honda Civic (30)
Chevy Malibu (22)
GMC Yukon (16)
Ford Explorer (11)

Not that we're on the way to $3.50 a gallon or anything. Or are we?!?


iggi said...

i figure i'm shelling out about $430 a year...

Kari Chisholm said...

Just bought a Jeep Liberty that runs on biodiesel. It gets 19 mpg city and 23 mpg road - in real practice.

At 20 mpg overall average, we're running about 15 cents a mile. 10,000 miles is $1500.

But here's the thing: That $1500 stays right here because we're buying biodiesel made in Oregon.

From a 'buy local' perspective, that's money better spent -- even compared to a Prius that gets triple the mileage, but sends all its money to multinational oil companies and anti-democratic nations.

Jeff Alworth said...

Full disclosure: my wife and I drive a '97 Civic that's still getting a little better than 30 mpg, but we only put about 7,000 miles on it a year (it's got less than 65k total). So we're spending something like $650 collectively.

And Kari, you're right on that one. We're thinking of buying a new car and the Jetta I referenced, at 42 mpg, is getting serious attention. That'd be a sharp improvement on mileage, we'd quit contributing greenhouse gasses, and we'd be unplugging ourselves from the Saudi teat. Though I don't think that's the trifect Bush once referenced.

fred said...

But wait, you don't have a Suburban @10mpg....

My wife is jonesin' for a new car to take the place of the 94 camry wagon (real mpg ~19 :-( ), but after doing the math at $4 gallon, it would still take us about 6 years to realize any savings to get a New Car (prius) (and yes, I realise that I'm still burning 19 mpg gas...)