How much gasoline do you use?

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  • #1
jtbell
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In one of their frequent reports about the rising price of gasoline, ABC's "World News Tonight" recently cited a survey claiming that the average American family used $4000 worth of gasoline last year. I'm one of those people who writes down every gasoline purchase in a little notebook, to keep track of gas mileage, so I added up everything for my car (a 12-year old Chevy Prizm, basically a Toyota Corolla in disguise) last year:

9253 miles
252.63 gallons
Total cost $876.47

About a third of that was during a road trip last summer from South Carolina to New England and back. We live within walking distance of where we work, so I seldom drive to work. I do many of my local errands by walking from home or work; occasionally I drive in town (a few miles). About 4-5 times per month, I drive to the next town (about 20 miles round trip) or to the nearest cities (usually 70-100 miles round trip, occasionally as much as 200 miles).

My wife uses her tiny car only for local grocery shopping etc. Whenever we go anywhere together (usually out of town), we use my car. She probably buys gas no more than once every two months, for a total of maybe 60 gallons a year, about $200-$210 last year.

So we spent about $1000 total on gasoline last year. Omitting the New England trip brings it down to about $650.
 

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  • #2
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hmmm I fill up about twice a month on my 12.5 gallon Civic. That puts me just under $1000 a year.
 
  • #3
Pythagorean
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$2000 (assuming 30-40 a week, but we sometimes go every other week)

reasons mine is so high:

-bad gas mileage (old SUV)
-Alaska prices
-I drive to work/class in the winter when it's cold (it's only a block away)
-have to let the car warm up when subzero.
-trips to the lake to go sailing (packing the sail boat) all summer
 
  • #4
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My rough estimate is filling up once a month, <$50 per fill, so $600 a year for me. Could have been higher during the summer, so maybe more like $800 maximum.

I bike or bus to school, so most of my mileage is longer trips out of town.
 
  • #5
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I fill up about once a month for about $65 (petrol is about $1.30 per litre). This is in a standard school-going month because I catch the train to uni. Sometimes I go for a trip and use a little more. Probably another $200 per year, so I'm on about $1000(AUD) a year. This is just me by the way, no family and my car is a 4 cylinder.
 
  • #6
chiro
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In Australia at the moment, it's about $1.40 a litre which works out to roughly $5.30 a gallon

You americans have it so easy.
 
  • #7
jtbell
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According to my notebook, the most I've ever paid in the US was $4.10 per gallon, in Nebraska in June 2008, during the last big run-up in gasoline prices. Then the Great Recession started, and on December 26 of that same year I paid $1.42 in South Carolina.

The only time I've had to buy gasoline abroad was when we rented a car in Finland more than 20 years ago. (Usually we use trains and buses when we travel abroad.) Back then it was about $4-$5 per gallon. I remember thinking, "wow, I just spent $50 to fill the tank!"

I haven't had a $50 tankful yet in this country. Maybe this summer.
 
  • #8
Integral
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I am filling up about every 8 days, driving a bit over 200mi a week . Would sure like to see the price of electric cars get down to where I could just change this gas bill into a car payment. More likely the price of gas will going up that will get me there.
 
  • #9
Ivan Seeking
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I do less driving now than ever in my adult life. Last year I only drove about 5000 miles - that's one oil change per year! At that rate, my Toyota should last at least another 20-30 years. :rofl: In years past I typically averaged about 30K miles per year.

My current car gets ~35 mpg, so that comes out to about 140 gallons of gas last year. I have never gotten less than 30 mpg in the last 25 years less the occasional trip to Home Depot, or to the dump, with the old pickup truck.

Tsu now drives a hot rod so I don't know kind of mileage she gets these days.
 
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  • #10
Astronuc
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My office is about 6.5 miles from work. I fill up the tank of my Civic every third week, or sooner if I drive more. I drive various airports that each represent about a 200 mile round trip. I probably spend around $1000/yr on gasoline. My wife probably a bit more because she drives an Odyssey.

The gasoline in our area is now about $3.95/gal. I could buy cheaper stuff, but I prefer to buy Mobil gasoline, espeically from the station at the intersection closest to my home.

The most I've paid in the US is $5+/gal, but I've paid more in Europe.
 
  • #11
russ_watters
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I drive about 20,000 miles a year and my car gets about 29 mpg. Assuming $3.50 gas, that's $2400/yr.
 
  • #12
Borek
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I paid $1.8 per liter on Monday :grumpy:
 
  • #13
Borg
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For the last year, I used 214.842 gallons to travel 9851 miles which is about 45.9 MPG. Total cost @ $3.50 per gallon is about $750.
 
  • #14
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My office is about 6.5 miles from work.
What a coincidence. My house is about 6.5 miles from where I live.
 
  • #15
cristo
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In Australia at the moment, it's about $1.40 a litre which works out to roughly $5.30 a gallon

You americans have it so easy.
In the uk at the minute it's £1.30 a litre, which works out at over $9 a gallon. You aussies have it easy!
 
  • #16
turbo
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I have a Honda Ridgeline that is very expensive to fill up, but I hardly ever go anywhere. When I bought that truck, I spent a couple of hours negotiating and successfully chiseled the price down in part because it was one year removed from the current model-year (though new). In fact, model year doesn't matter to me because years from now that truck is going to be low-mileage anyway.

I'm getting around 18 mpg in that truck, which is good for a 3/4 ton truck with 5000# towing capacity. You can't possibly get that kind of fuel efficiency in a Chevy or Ford.
 
  • #17
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Slightly off topic, the USA has a massive budget deficit, petrol (gas) is relatively cheap; why doesn't the federal government introduce a say 25 cents / gallon tax?
 
  • #18
Astronuc
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What a coincidence. My house is about 6.5 miles from where I live.
I changed my thought in the middle of a sentence, or there was a momentary disconnect between fingers and brain. Or it's just the usual cerebral malfunction.

My home is 6.5 miles from my office, or reflexively (congruently) my office is 6.5 miles from home.
 
  • #19
turbo
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I changed my thought in the middle of a sentence, or there was a momentary disconnect between fingers and brain. Or it's just the usual cerebral malfunction.

My home is 6.5 miles from my office, or reflexively (congruently) my office is 6.5 miles from home.
As much time as you spend working, which one is "home"? :tongue:
 
  • #20
Gokul43201
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Slightly off topic, the USA has a massive budget deficit, petrol (gas) is relatively cheap; why doesn't the federal government introduce a say 25 cents / gallon tax?
Gas is relatively cheap, compared to other countries. But most Americans are not constantly driving in other countries, to then get home and feel the relief of lower gas prices. As far as the voting public is concerned, gas prices are nearly twice what they were a few years ago, and expected to keep rising. It might take nothing more than $5 gas to sink a Democrat's election/re-election campaign (especially a Presidential run). The only people with the political capital to raise gas taxes in the US are Republicans, and most of them probably find the idea abhorrent. In short, there will not be a gas tax increase during a time of high unemployment, especially under a Democrat administration.
 
  • #21
jtbell
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Slightly off topic, the USA has a massive budget deficit, petrol (gas) is relatively cheap; why doesn't the federal government introduce a say 25 cents / gallon tax?
In the US, gasoline taxes have traditionally been intended to pay for road construction and maintenance, not for general funding purposes like income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, etc. It would be a major shift in policy to raise gasoline taxes for deficit-reduction purposes, and it would surely arouse massive opposition.

The gasoline taxes that the federal and state governments collect now, arguably are not enough even to maintain and expand our existing roads, bridges etc. properly. It is very difficult politically to raise gasoline taxes even for these purposes, even when roads are crumbling in front of people's eyes.
 
  • #22
Moonbear
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I usually need gas about every week and a half to two weeks, depending on how many other errands I'm running aside from going back and forth to work. A fill up for me runs, currently (prices just went up another 25 cents for absolutely no good reason so are $3.75/ gallon) about $35-$40, depending on how low I let the tank get. Adding in a few trips a year to NY or NJ (once there I can park the car and take public transit everywhere and grumble about the city unplanners where I live who haphazardly stick in roads anywhere without ever factoring in any chance of public transportation, or even bike paths), I guesstimate my gas costs to come in somewhere under $1500 per year...that's probably a high estimate.

I've heard those reports before about how much people spend in a year on gas and wonder who is using so much to make the average so high?! Are they adding commercial trucks into the average?

Sadly, where I am, the major motivator for people to find alternative transportation or to conserve fuel has nothing to do with fuel consumption, but instead, the lack of sufficient parking spaces on campus. People don't want to drive to campus only to have to park far from the building they want to get to and need to walk anyway. To help encourage students to leave their cars at home, the university started a zip car program (sign up for a low membership fee and borrow a small car when you need it for grocery shopping or other such things). I don't know if it's working yet, but it seems like a good idea since the main reason to keep a car on campus is that most of the grocery stores and restaurants with student-friendly prices aren't within walking distance of campus, and taxis take way too long to show up if you have a lot of groceries to lug back.
 
  • #23
collinsmark
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Since November I've been driving a plug-in hybrid. According to the odometer and lifetime trip meter, so far I've gone 1385 miles (2228 km) on only 0.2 gallons (0.757 liters) of gasoline -- but 0.1 gallons was already on the lifetime trip meter when I bought the car (probably for manufacturer testing), along with just a few miles on the OD.

So at the current rate, I'm getting about 13800 mi/gal (~5870 kilometers per liter).

Of course, that current rate isn't going to last forever. The car automatically goes into gas mode every month or two to keep the hoses clean (which is where the other 0.1 gallons came from), and will eventually go into gas mode when the average age of the gasoline is over a year old. And I haven't gone on any long trips yet either.

Over the long term, I can see myself driving ~5000 miles/yr, and spending $50/yr or less on gas, without much problem.

My electricity bill has gone up roughly $12 dollars per month, depending on the month, so far (I am able to charge up at work occasionally too, if you're curious). So add on another ~$144 for the year, to get my personal transportation energy costs. ~$200/yr total (electric bill + gas) sounds about right.
 
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  • #24
Ivan Seeking
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Since November I've been driving a plug-in hybrid. According to the odometer and lifetime trip meter, so far I've gone 1385 miles (2228 km) on only 0.2 gallons (0.757 liters) of gasoline -- but 0.1 gallons was already on the lifetime trip meter when I bought the car (probably for manufacturer testing), along with just a few miles on the OD.

So at the current rate, I'm getting about 13800 mi/gal (~5870 kilometers per liter).

Of course, that current rate isn't going to last forever. The car automatically goes into gas mode every month or two to keep the hoses clean (which is where the other 0.1 gallons came from), and will eventually go into gas mode when the average age of the gasoline is over a year old. And I haven't gone on any long trips yet either.

Over the long term, I can see myself driving ~5000 miles/yr, and spending $50/yr or less on gas, without much problem.

My electricity bill has gone up roughly $12 dollars per month, depending on the month, so far (I am able to charge up at work occasionally too, if you're curious). So add on another ~$144 for the year, to get my personal transportation energy costs. ~$200/yr total (electric bill + gas) sounds about right.
However, to be fair you would need to look at the increased price paid for the car and then how long it takes to pay down the difference, in fuel savings. I've been shying away from hybrids because it's not clear the pay off is there. As time goes on, I would be interested to hear how this works out in addition to the cost of maintenance; in particular, how long the batteries last and the replacement cost.

A funny thing struck me this week. I seem to be unique in that I have no idea what I pay for gas. Most people seem to cite the last price paid down to the penny. As a rule I never even look because it doesn't matter. It's not like I have a choice to buy or not. And after learning how bad discount gasoline can be, I stick with the major suppliers [pretty much always have anyway] who are all priced about the same. So that leaves me with three local choices where one, ARCO, doesn't accept credit cards, so they are out. So what's to shop? Why look? I'd probably rather not know.
 
  • #25
russ_watters
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A funny thing struck me this week. I seem to be unique in that I have no idea what I pay for gas. Most people seem to cite the last price paid down to the penny. As a rule I never even look because it doesn't matter. It's not like I have a choice to buy or not. And after learning how bad discount gasoline can be, I stick with the major suppliers [pretty much always have anyway] who are all priced about the same. So that leaves me with three local choices where one, ARCO, doesn't accept credit cards, so they are out. So what's to shop? Why look? I'd probably rather not know.
On my 12 mile drive to work, I can see up to a $.40/gal difference between the prices. I don't always make an effort to buy the lowest, but it makes a difference if I do.
 

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