Don’t Waste Time Driving Around To The Cheapest Gas Station

Fuel prices keep rising, in fact they are at a level now that some would’ve found hard to believe just a few months ago. The huge rise in fuel prices have affected more than driving habits, this cost increase trickles down to other areas of the economy as well. Because of a higher cost in delivering a product to its destination, consumers can see increased prices at the grocery store, in restaurants, and elsewhere that they wouldn’t normally think of as affected by fuel prices. This forces consumers to look for ways to save money related to their purchase of fuel. The instinctual response to high gas prices is to immediately look for the gas station with the lowest prices. This is a largely ineffective way at battling the high cost of fuel.

When figuring out anything related to fuel efficiency and fuel prices, it is all in the math. The numbers don’t lie when it comes to finding out if searching for the cheapest gas is worthwhile, and usually it isn’t. The only way that it pays off to search for the cheapest fuel is if the source of the fuel is either near a driver’s home, or is on the way to somewhere that the driver will be driving to anyway.

An illustration of this can be shown in this scenario:

Driver A has a vehicle that gets 20 mpg in the city. Driver A then searches for the most inexpensive gas in town, usually there is not much more than a few pennies difference from one gas station to the next, but Driver A has lucked out and found a gas station where he can save ten cents a gallon. The gas station is five miles out of the way, so it will be a ten mile round trip to fill his tank up. Driver A heads out fills his 20 gallon tank, even though most driver’s tanks are much smaller than this, and he is ecstatic that he has saved ten cents a gallon on 20 gallons meaning his savings is $2. Now, the fuel he purchased costs four dollars per gallon so his savings amount to half a gallon of gas. His ten mile round trip at 20 miles per gallon means he used a half a gallon of gas to get there and back. Effectively he has broken even and wasted all that time searching for the cheap fuel and then driving there and back.

There are a number of effective ways to improve gas mileage or save money in an effort to negate the effect of high fuel prices. Maintaining proper inflation of tires, insuring that a car’s maintenance is always on schedule, combine errands and trips so they can all be performed on one driving excursion, and even lower the amount of unnecessary driving done are all great ways to save money on fuel. But driving around looking to save a few pennies per gallon on the cost of fuel is not a beneficial or viable way to save money on the high price of fuel.

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  1. […] right. I cannot help but wonder why such suggestions were not discussed already, specially the fuel economy ones. I like the optimistic approach in which the articles are written. I also like that there […]

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