1. Travel

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Road Trip Costs - Calculate Gas Mileage and Find Cheap Gas

How to make a gas mileage calculator work for your trip budget


Confusing Petrol Pump Signs Cause Vehicle
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images News

You're thinking a US road trip sounds like a cheap way to travel. Is it? Let's look at current gas prices and learn how to calculate gas mileage for your particular trip to determine the cost of your car travel.

If you don't own a car, let's start by determining whether it's feasible to consider buying one within your budget. That's a big deal - look into car purchasing (used car, new car, car insurance costs and more). And find a car that gets reasonable gas mileage (number of miles driven per gallon of gas burned).

1. Calculate Your Gas Mileage (MPG) - Find Out How Much It Costs You to Drive One Mile

Calculate gas mileage (MPG) - use a handy online mileage calculator or do it yourself:

  • Next time you fill up, note your odometer reading or set your trip meter to zero (push in the little knob underneath the odometer - read your owner's manual if you have a newer car with a computerized console) and the number of gallons you purchase, down to the tenth
  • Drive until it's time to fill up again
  • Note the odometer reading when you fill up - subtract it from the first reading you noted
  • Divide that figure by the number of gallons you purchased to arrive at your MPG

    Jot down your MPG as sum #1.

    Improve your gas mileage and fuel efficiency with a few simple tips.

    2. Calculate Your Trip Length

    Figure out how many total miles you'll be driving. Use this great little online trip distance calculator, AAA or a similar travel club or a map.

    Jot down the total miles as sum #2.

    3. Find Current Gas Prices

    Plan your trip using approximate gas costs. It's easy enough to locate a local gas station with cheap prices - use AAA for average national gas prices and try these links for more precise costs of a gallon of gas along your travel route:

    Choose three gas prices, add together and divide by three. Jot down the result as sum #3.

    4. Calculate Your Trip Cost

  • Divide sum #2 (total miles) by sum #1 (MPG)
  • Multiply the total by sum #3.

    And that's how much you will spend on gas during your car trip.

    Now that you've gone through that exercise, I'll let slip that you might be able to find your travel gas cost at FuelCostCalculator.com (provided you'll be driving one of the car models listed).

    Remember to Factor in All Car Travel Costs

    The cost of gas alone is only a part of your trip expense planning. You will also need to factor in any lodging, meals, maps, and other automobile costs, like oil (see how to check the engine's oil level here, by the way).

    Enjoy Your Trip!

    1. About.com
    2. Travel
    3. Student Travel
    4. Student Transportation Options
    5. Getting Around There
    6. Driving and Road Trips
    7. Road Trip Costs - Calculate Gas Mileage and Find Cheap Gas

    ©2015 About.com. All rights reserved.