Dealing with High Fuel Prices: The Real Cost of Driving
How much does it really cost to drive your car? I mean in actual dollars and cents, a hard, specific, tangible number, how many cents does each mile cost you? Let’s figure out the real cost of driving to help your family’s frugal budget. Did you miss Dealing With High Fuel Prices part 1? Read it now before you go on!
In the great fuel-cost-reduction brainstorm that happened in my house last week, a real number emerged. From the usual amount of miles we’ve been able to drive on one tank of gas, and the current prices of fuel in our town, we calculated that each mile we drive costs us 17¢. That’s right! Driving our cars = 17 Cents per Mile!
Both of our cars are compacts and relatively fuel-efficient, so while our miles cost us 17¢, many people are paying a much higher price to drive. When you look at driving in this new way, it makes you consider your destinations much more carefully. Using Google Maps to determine how far it is to drive to the places we normally go, we came up with this chart of driving distances for all of our regular stops.
Armed with this knowledge, every time I want to leave the house now, I automatically think of how much it will cost to drive to where I am going. For example, I know that dropping and picking up my daughter from school each day is 18.4 miles, and costs our family $15.60 a week. Wow!
While we can’t skip driving to and from school, we can make better choices with how we group our errands together and where we choose to go. We’re even considering switching to banks and other businesses that are closer to our home.
Frugal Challenge: Calculate how much it costs YOU to drive with your primary vehicle. Can you find businesses to use that are closer to home?
Calculate Your Real Cost of Driving
- Make a chart of your most frequent destinations.
- Use a mapping tool to calculate both the one-way and round trip mileage from your home to each location.
- Using your mileage per gallon for your main car, calculate how much each mile costs you (use the price you paid per gallon for fuel at your last fill up).
- Post your chart next to the door or at your launch pad so you can be reminded of driving in a smart errand pattern!