It Costs How Much?

How Much Does My Commute Cost (In Gas Consumed)?

Written by: Larry Coffey

Ever wonder what a trip costs you or how you actually pay for gas in one of your daily commutes? It's relatively straightforward once you know three pieces of information you need to calculate it: the distance you travel, the cost of the gas, and the gas mileage of your vehicle.

Part 1 - Gas Mileage

Not sure of your car's gas mileage? Don't panic yet! It's actually pretty common for a car not to achieve the same gas mileage that the manufacturer puts on its new car stickers, so use this link to figure out your actual gas mileage. Want to make an estimate before figuring out your actual value? Find your car on this list: Fuel Economy Estimates.

Part 2 - Price of Gas

Getting the price of the gas is the easiest step: simply look at the gas pump. It's the price per gallon of the type of gas you normally buy that you're interested in. That price is usually conveniently posted on a big sign at the gas station as well as on each of the gas pumps themselves. Or, since you're at home and just want to make an estimate, you could use this: National Average Prices.

Part 3 - Distance You Drive

The piece of information you next need is the distance you travel (or will travel). You can do this by writing down the number on your odometer before you start your commute and writing down the odometer number again when you arrive at your destination. Subtract the first reading from the second, and you have the number of miles you traveled. Multiply that number by two to get the number of miles you drive on a roundtrip.

Use the following worksheet to calculate your trip distance:

Second odometer reading: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
– First odometer reading: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Miles driven: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
X 2
Total miles driven (roundtrip): _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Subtract your first odometer reading from your second odometer reading, then multiply that result by 2 to give you your total roundtrip miles.

Part 4 - Putting it All Together

Figuring the Cost of Your Commute

Use the following worksheet to calculate the cost of your commute:

Total miles: _ _ _ _ _ _

X Price of Gas ($):_ _ _ _ _ _ = $_ _ _ _ _ _
Mileage (MPG): _ _ _ _ _ _

Divide the total miles by the MPG, then multiply that number times the price of gas to give you the cost of your trip.

How To Calculate The Cost of Your Commute – Using A Java Applet

Here's the simple method. Follow the steps below to gather the numbers, and then plug them into the Java applet below.

  1. Determine the total roundtrip distance of your commute.
  2. Determine the gas mileage of your vehicle.
  3. Get the price of gas per gallon at your gas station.
  4. Plug those numbers into the applet below and press Compute!.

And that's all there is to it! Happy motoring!

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If you find this to be the case, simply click on the message and select "Allow Blocked Content..." from the popup menu.

Photo Credits: Commute by Globevisions