Road Trip Gas
Gas Saving Tips and
Quirky Gas Stations to Boot
Part of the fun of road trips are some of the weird road trip gas stations you encounter along the way. Gas stations reflect the landscape and subculture of the area around them. Gas stations in
sell dinosaur toys. And shockingly, allow you to pump your gas and then trust you to pay afterwards. Gas stations in Las Vegas have video poker and slot machines. Next to the
they are filled with overpriced touristy trinkets with a Southwestern theme. In the middle of nowhere they are deliciously creepy and contain just one brave soul to man them in the wee hours of the night. Sometimes behind bullet proof gas, but often not.
When considering the cost of road trip gas, I always assumed my way of traveling was way cheaper than traveling on an airplane. Road trips are the down home, frugal way to travel from point A to point B.
To prove this fact, I went online to compare driving from Las Vegas to New York by car, and also by airplane.
When searching for plane tickets, I tried to give the high cost of flying an advantage in my price comparison game by saying layovers were fine and my traveling dates were flexible.
The Results Were Shocking
I used the AAA Road Trip Gas Calculator, and Expedia to get my results. I was very surprised to find that the gas for a trip from Las Vegas to New York City is $315. But the plane ticket is only $139!
Then I realized, we are going to need a car when we get there aren't we? If we fly, we will have to rent one. If you go to the Budget rental car site it is $850 to rent an economy car for a week! I thought it must be because New York City is more expensive, but when I put in an obscure city in Ohio I got the same quote. Add the money for the flight and now your up to a cost of $936 if you fly. A few hundred dollars for a week at a no frills hotel and your up to $1300.
Those gas calculations were made using my little economy car. What if you manage to get a van and convert it to a camper? That costs a lot more in road trip gas than the economy car. The gas alone is $728. But then no motel is necessary. The $728 and the camper van cover both transportation and shelter.
In Order of Frugality...
Camper Van $728
Economy car and motel for around $900 (I added five additional motel nights for the traveling time. If you drive eight hours a day, it takes 5 days.)This has been our most usual mode of travel.
Plane, car, and motel $1300
Ease Up, Lead Foot!
There are things you can do to improve your gas mileage. Some of these you may do anyway, like use the cruise control feature on your vehicle. Does the top of your right foot ever hurt after a long day of driving? Mine did, before cruise control. I love it, now. It saves my foot, and it saves me from a speeding ticket. Plus, it saves on gas. Cruise control saves.
If you are going on road trips, you are doing regular car maintenance, aren’t you, like oil changes and keeping your tires properly inflated? Not only does it make the car last longer, it makes for better gas mileage. It’s pretty cheap if you look for coupons, too. If you have an alcoholic neighbor that likes to tinker with cars, even better. I have found they will sometimes work for just a six pack of beer.
By the way, driving behind a semi truck to reduce wind resistance, does not save gas, besides sounding stressful and dangerous. Seriously.
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