# How much gasoline do you use?

Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
On my 12 mile drive to work, I can see up to a $.40/gal difference between the prices. I don't always make an effort to buy the lowest, but it makes a difference if I do. You see this big of a difference between different stations? If that's the idea, we never see this much variation between the brand-name vendors. The most I ever noticed was a few cents here and there unless you go to places like Safeway for gas. But when you only have three choices within 20 miles, that isn't surprising. There is no place to get gas on my 400 foot drive to work. Monique Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Gold Member Slightly off topic, the USA has a massive budget deficit, petrol (gas) is relatively cheap; why doesn't the federal government introduce a say 25 cents / gallon tax? The gas may be relatively cheap, but the cars are relatively large. I wonder what the average gas efficiency is of cars driven in the US, vs. other countries. It may be that the people are actually spending a lot of money on gas despite the relatively cheap price? turbo Gold Member The gas may be relatively cheap, but the cars are relatively large. I wonder what the average gas efficiency is of cars driven in the US, vs. other countries. It may be that the people are actually spending a lot of money on gas despite the relatively cheap price? I bought a Subaru Forester a couple of years ago, which my wife drives primarily. It's not uncommon to get 27 mpg, which is pretty good for an AWD SUV of its size. My truck is a Honda Ridgeline and it gets just about 20 mpg. That's OK because I don't drive much. Still it's nice to have a truck for runs to the trash transfer station and recycling. Moonbear Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Gold Member On my 12 mile drive to work, I can see up to a$.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.
Wow! I saw that much variation between states (PA was about 50 cents/gal cheaper than NJ or WV on my last trip, and MD was intermediate), but haven't ever seen that much variation in a short area unless I crossed a state line. At most, I see a 5 cent difference across town. The exception might be for one day as prices are rising depending on which day each station gets their delivery.

I don't pay attention to the penny either. I notice a general range, and miss the days of filling up for $12, but then my parents miss the days when they could scrape up pocket change for enough gas to get somewhere worth going. Like Ivan, I just need gas when I need it, and sometimes it's better not too look. Monique is right that there are still plenty of gas guzzlers on the road in the US. Even rising gas prices hasn't persuaded people from giving up their monster SUVs and pick-up trucks in favor of smaller, more fuel efficient cars. Now, for some, I can understand that it might be cheaper for them to pay more in gas than buy a new car, but I still don't understand why people still buy those new instead of getting something smaller, cheaper, and cheaper to fuel. I drive 14,000 miles a year and don't use a drop of gasoline! ...but I use a gallon of diesel fuel for every 60 miles, or so.... turbo Gold Member I don't watch the prices at all. I just stop and fill up at the nearest Irving station. They are the only brand up here with their own refinery. Every other brand comes from tank farms in Portland or Searsport. The only difference between brands is the content of the additives that the drivers put in the tanker before driving off. AlephZero Science Advisor Homework Helper You see this big of a difference between different stations? If that's the idea, we never see this much variation between the brand-name vendors. The most I ever noticed was a few cents here and there unless you go to places like Safeway for gas. But when you only have three choices within 20 miles, that isn't surprising. In the UK there is usually a significant price range from motorway service stations (high, but most people who use them are probably paying with company expense account) and the big supermarket chains (low, with more discounts on the pump price if you use stor loyalty cards etc). I just checked a UK fuel price search website. Within 5 miles of my home the range is 144.9p/liter down to 132.7 (which is the local Asda/Walmart price, actually 131.7 if you pay with their store credit card). That range is about 70 cents a US gallon. The national fuel chains tend to match each other's prices to within 1p a liter (5 or 6 cents a US gallon) within a few miles distance. On the other hand in rural areas the "only petrol in town" is often at the top of the price range. I've never heard any horror stories about "cheap discount fuel" in the UK. Nobody is going to make much profit trying to undercut the "big four" supermarket chains, and they wouldn't want to annoy millions of customers nationwide. OmCheeto Gold Member Over the last year:$1284
344.5 gal
24.4 mpg
8151 miles
boating weather: 29 miles/day average (June-Oct)
non-boating weather: 21 miles/day average (Nov-May)
towing capacity: 1580 lbs
excess carrying capacity: 1/2 ton
Ford Truck
Amount of junk I haul to the fair once a year: 999 lbs.
:tongue2:

russ_watters
Mentor
Wow! I saw that much variation between states (PA was about 50 cents/gal cheaper than NJ or WV on my last trip, and MD was intermediate), but haven't ever seen that much variation in a short area unless I crossed a state line. At most, I see a 5 cent difference across town.
Er, just double checked - it was $.30, not$.40. But anyway, I live in a relatively sparsely populated 'burb and the price drops like a rock as you leave the dense and upscale area where I work.

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As a single suburbanite with a 2002 Honda Accord, I used about $1000 of gasoline last year. 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. I used about, oh, maybe$20 worth last month (I'm retired). But I can sympathize with the situations of people who have to spend a lot on gasoline. And, things are, apparently, going to get a lot worse in the coming years.

Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
... I use a gallon of diesel fuel for every 60 miles, or so....
Hear, Hear!

A few years ago I discovered that the Honda Civic Diesel sold in Europe gets better mileage than the Honda Civic Hybrid [not a plug-in]. Plug-in hybrids may make good sense for local driving, but your any distance, diesel is the way to go. And the efforts to produce carbon-neutral biodiesel from souces like algae and bacteria, look most promising.

There may already be diesel hybrids our there. I know Ford was working on one. When it comes to efficiency, diesel is quite simply superior to internal combustion engines. I know there are variations on the classic ICE that seem to promise higher efficiencies, but diesel is a more-than-proven technology.

My regular commute is approx 2 miles urban, 18 miles motorway, 2 more miles urban. I know the route backwards (obviously I know it backwards .... I meant it figuratively!), and I know how to drive it so that the car naturally slows at every point I might get stopped, and brake only a remaining 5mph, maybe, if I do need to stop.

Net result is that a hybrid would serve absolutely zero purpose in this scenario - the extra motor/batteries would just be dead weight. Their only purpose is to regenerate under braking. So by not having a hybrid but driving so you don't need to brake, you'd avoid all that harmful* CO2 that would then float off into the atmosphere in the manufacture of those extra, useless bits.

*(Not my opinion - quoting the EPA's ruling on CO2 emissions.)

I used to have a car with the VAG 1896 diesel engine with variable turbo geometry. VW claimed 43% thermal efficiency from it (and they've made more efficient engines since then!). I used to average 85 mpg on the same route (cold-start to key-off), if I kept my speed under 55mph on the motorway. And this wasn't a teeny car, this was a full 3500lbs mid-sized family car. This makes even a plug in hybrid pointless, from a CO2 emissions standpoint, as it would be more efficient to burn that fossil fuel in the car than in the power station (assuming this sort of efficiency, and non-nuclear/renewable electricity).

I used to have a car with the VAG 1896 diesel engine with variable turbo geometry. VW claimed 43% thermal efficiency from it (and they've made more efficient engines since then!). I used to average 85 mpg on the same route (cold-start to key-off), if I kept my speed under 55mph on the motorway. And this wasn't a teeny car, this was a full 3500lbs mid-sized family car.
Golf Bluemotion?

I don't think my brain to foot neurons would allow me to go so slowly.

Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Golf Bluemotion?

I don't think my brain to foot neurons would allow me to go so slowly.
I don't even know who still has 55 mph limits on the highways. Around here, the speed limit is 70 mph, and across the border slows to 65 mph. I only see 55 posted in congested areas where you're more likely to sit in traffic only doing 40 mph anyway, but that's the exception, not the norm.

Golf Bluemotion?

I don't think my brain to foot neurons would allow me to go so slowly.
Škoda Octavia. Based on a Golf, with an extended floorpan. The homologated fuel consumption figure for highway was ~70mpg, but it is not difficult to get +20% out of a diesel if you drive like a saint. Patience, dear boy, patience! 55mph or 70mph makes very little difference to the overall time taken, on such a short commute.

In the Škoda range there is now a range of even more economical cars, like Bluemotion but named 'Greenline'. The smaller car in the range, the 2,500lbs Fabia, comes with a homologated highway figure of 95mpg.

Mentor
I don't even know who still has 55 mph limits on the highways. Around here, the speed limit is 70 mph, and across the border slows to 65 mph. I only see 55 posted in congested areas where you're more likely to sit in traffic only doing 40 mph anyway, but that's the exception, not the norm.
Around here (South Carolina), rural Interstates (motorways) are usually posted for 65 or 70, but most other rural roads are 55. On my local intercity trips, I usually prefer the "other" roads in rural areas because they're less congested. When I approach a city, those roads become more stop-and-go, and I switch to the parallel Interstate, which is now usually 60 or even 55.

Škoda Octavia.

but it is not difficult to get +20% out of a diesel if you drive like a saint. Patience, dear boy, patience!
I drive a MK4 GTI.

Getting tricky to justify at 400miles a week though. I'm looking for a decent diesel, Leon Ecomotive.
Don't think I could give up the power though.

Getting tricky to justify at 400miles a week though. I'm looking for a decent diesel, Leon Ecomotive.
Don't think I could give up the power though.
Sounds like you might want a BMW 535d then? Currently delivering 313bhp (0-62mph in 5.5 seconds) with a 53mpg homologated fuel consumption rating.

Jasongreat
Dont use gasoline, but it costs me about 100- 150$a week in diesel at a minimum, so atleast 5200- 7700$ a year, but I am sure it is usually over that since I usually average 30,000 miles a year at 20 mpg at @ 4$a gallon, and most years I am closer to 50,000 miles. Traveling is my entertainment, as well as necessary for most my jobs, a road I have never before been down is one that I just have to travel down and 'short cuts' are my favorite, though I have yet to find a 'short cut' that wasnt longer than the normal route. :) As a side note, I never pay much attention to fuel prices or my mileage. Imo, it is just the cost neccesary to my way of life, especially living in the west where the next major town is 80 miles away in every direction, and I can spend days in the great basin without seeing a town let alone another person, although alot of the year 4x4 is neccesary, which also lowers my mpg, but makes traveling far more interesting. collinsmark Homework Helper Gold Member 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. Good point. The trouble is finding a good car for comparison. Comparing my car model to a subcompact economy car (as many in the media continue to do) is not a fair comparison. Those cars are either smaller, have far fewer features, or lower build quality. They invariably don't have the punchy acceleration. I mean sure, a bicycle gets better gas mileage than a Lamborghini Aventador Coupe. But if you had a magic, unlimited energy Lamborghini Aventador Coupe that costs$3000 more (all else being equal as the normal, gas one), you wouldn't compare it to a bicycle. You'd compare it against a normal Lamborghini Aventador Coupe.

The problem is my car doesn't have a gas-only equivalent. The Chevy Cruze is roughly the same size and shape as my car, but much lower torque and a reduced feature set. It's not even in the same leauge (not to mention the Cruze has inexpensive wheels with hubcaps, versus the Volt's 17" alloy rims). That's not a fair comparison. "To be fair," I need to compare it to a car with similar features. So here's what I have.

My car model:

2012 Chevrolet Volt
Width: 70.4 in.
Height: 56.6 in.
Length: 177.1 in.
Front leg room: 42.1 in.
Front shoulder room: 56.5 in.
Rear leg room: 34.1 in.
Rear shoulder room: 53.9 in.
Torque: 273 lb·ft
MSRP from $39,145 Mine's a different color, but you get the idea. ============================================== The Volt is roughly the same size and interior as this model: 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C250 Sport Sedan (and they both ride smoothly). Width: 69.7 in. Height: 56.3 in. Length: 180.8 in. Front head room: 37.1 in. Front leg room: 41.7 in. Front shoulder room: 54.7 in. Rear head room: 36.9 in. Rear leg room: 33.4 in. Rear shoulder room: 55.0 in. EPA mileage est. (cty/hwy): 21/31 mpg MSRP from$34,800

Of course the Volt only seats 4 and the Benz seats 5. But I can't decide whether that's necessarily a negative. The Volt's back seats are like bucket seats which are much more comfortable anyway. Heck, what am I saying; who needs back seats in the first place? What I'm more interested in is torque!

==============================================

The Chevy Volt has the same torque as this model:

2012 Porsche Boxster Convertible
Torque: 273 lb·ft
EPA mileage est. (cty/hwy): 19/26 mpg
MSRP from $65,200 But a car like that can be pretty loud while driving, making it tough to listen to music or have a pleasant conversation. It's often nice to have a quiet ride. =============================================== The Chevrolet Volt is at least as quiet as this model: 2011 Rolls-Royce Ghost Sedan EPA mileage est. (cty/hwy): 13/20 mpg MSRP from$246,500

===============================================

Notice I didn't mention horsepower. My Volt's maximum speed is 100 mph as it is, and I have no desire to go that that fast or faster (I live in a modestly congested city -- there's always traffic. The only cars moving 100+ mph are the ones falling off an overpass). Horsepower has more to do with max speed than acceleration. What I'm interested in is instant, quick acceleration at surface street speeds; and that is where torque dominates.

So what do you think: When calculating my car's "increased price paid," should I perform a simple average on the MSRPs and EPA mileages of these other models, or should I do a weighted average based on my personal feature preferences?

[Edit: sources for all specifications above are from edmunds.com]

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About the same size as the 83mpg Golf 105bhp 1.6 diesel Bluemotion. The torque is a bit meaningless as it all depends on the gearing as to what torque you actually see at the wheel.

So the question now, then, is if the Golf emits less than 99g of CO2 per km travelled, then if you use the national average mix of electricity then how much CO2 is emitted in generating that much electricity to make the Volta go a kilometer?

Just checking the prices of the Golf versus Volt.

In UK you can get the Golf for £17,517
In 2012, you'll be able to get the Ampera for £38.995

So that's a £21,478 difference.

The best interest on your money at the moment here is ~4% (Halifax), so you'd get £860 pa just on the interest of the price difference, which, even at UK's exorbitant diesel price of £6.40 per gallon, will provide you with 134 gallons of diesel a year, just funded on the interest alone of the difference, which'd be fuel enough for the Bluemotion Golf of around 10,000 miles.

I think the Volt/Ampera is great, but at the moment I'd buy the Golf and pocket the purchase difference.

EDIT: Just done the following table comparing it with the Golf's sister, the Skoda Octavia (which is slightly bigger and matches the Volt better). I also picked the vRS model to give you better performance than the Volt. I used your data, and added a few extra lines:

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Last year I put 4800 mi on my newer honda at 30mpg or so, and 500 mi on an older car that gets around 20mpg. That's about 185 gallons used, at an average of around \$4 per gallon here, so that's around 740 dollars annually for me, a single individual. Granted, I travel every day to class by bike. I started that about mid last year, so really for me alone I should be close to a grand a year if I drove everywhere.

So far this year I have only put 700 miles on the honda at 30mpg (which is now sold), and about 400 on the older car at 20mpg, so that's about 173 dollars since Jan 1. I have really upped the distance that I bike though. If I need to go anywhere and it doesn't matter if I smell nice or not, and I think I can make it, I will bike. I went from doing 5-8 miles each outing for exercise 6 months ago to around 20-30 miles twice a week, not counting my short 1-2 mile trip to the campus 5 days a week.

In 2009 I had a little sports car that did no better than 13 mpg, and around 11 on avg. I put 7000 miles on that car that year due to frequent trips upstate. That cost me around 2500 bucks if gas was 4/gal then, but that was also during the great gas-price-panic summer when prices hit 5.50 here. Shocking really.