Cheaper Gas Is More Expensive

by Charles on May 12, 2010

in Cars, Credit Cards

How often have you driven to the gas station across to the other side of the street just because that gas station charge $2.759 instead of $2.769 at the gas station on your side of the road? I have done it countless of times, until I realized that I was only saving 15 cents for the entire full tank of gas. To save 15 cents, I had to make a U-turn to get to the other side of the road, pump gas, then make another U-turn to return to be on my original destination. It surely was not worth the effort. Even if i save 15 cents every fill up for the entire year, I’ll save a total of mere $8/yr if I filled up once every week. But what if it was 2 cents cheaper at the other gas station, or 5 cents, or even 10 cents cheaper? Will it be worth it then? How many miles are you willing to drive out of your way to get to the gas station that is 5 cents or even 10 cents cheaper?

Don’t Travel Too Far For Cheap Gas

Previously, I wrote about ways saving money and gas at the gas station. But if your gas station is too far away, those savings could be negated, even if the cost of gas may be cheaper. I’ve compiled a chart below where it shows how far you can travel to purchase cheaper gas for it to break even. If you can travel less than what’s indicated in the table below, then you found yourself a bargain. If you have to travel further, it’s best to stay put and stick to the gas station closer to you. Please note that this table assumes that your car receives 20 miles to a gallon, control gas price is $3.00/gallon and your average fill-up volume is 13 gallons.

Basically, if another gas station has cheaper gas, it must be less than 1 mile away and the price must be at most $2.988/gallon. But let me clarify the max distance allowed. When I say “1 mile away”, I mean total roundtrip distance. So in essence, it can only be 0.5 mile away from where the $3.00 gas station is. It will take another 0.5 mile to travel back to your original location. If the gas station across the street is 1 cent cheaper, then it is cost effective to go there. But again, this does not account for the inconvenience it will cost you to get over to the other side of the road. If you know a gas station that offers 5 cents less, it better not be more than 2 miles away (4 miles total) or you’ll end up paying more for cheaper gas.

Use Gas Cards

I always use my Chase Mastercard to pay for all my gas purchases. It used to give me 3% back. On certain months, it gives me 5% back, depending on the offer that is available during that month. Nowadays, there are so many credit cards that is specially tailored for paying for gas. To discover other credit cards besides Chase Mastercard that offers cashback bonuses for gas purchases, you can go to by clicking here. Review and select the credit that meets your needs and then sign up.

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