Breaking News
More () »

Calculating the value of driving out of your way for cheaper gas

Price, the distance between stations, and the value of your time are among the considerations before driving several miles for cheaper gas

ATLANTA — As President Joe Biden takes steps to lower gasoline prices, drivers are calculating if it’s worth it to travel out of their way to find cheaper gas.

Gas prices in metro-Atlanta are all over the place. The GasBuddy app shows that prices can vary as much as 70-cents or more within a 5-mile radius.

How do you decide if it’s worth it to burn gas in order to save gas?

There’s a rather complicated math formula that will help you decide if you should bypass the gas station near you and travel to cheaper gas a few miles away.

Here it is:


“A” represents how many gallons you need to put in your vehicle. “B” represents the miles-per-gallon your car gets. “C” represents the cost of the more expensive fuel near you while “D” represents the price of the less expensive gas. Finally, “E” represents the distance between the two gas stations.

Fortunately, there are online calculators that will keep you from having to do all the math. You’ll need to plug in all the information needed about your vehicle, the price of gasoline, and the distance you need to travel.

Here’s an example using a situation that exists right now in the city of Atlanta. Let’s say you bypass a station on Peachtree Road selling gas for $3.99 a gallon and travel 2.6-miles to a station on Piedmont selling gasoline that’s seven cents a gallon cheaper.

In this situation, if your vehicle gets 30-miles-per-gallon, you will save $9.28 on a 14-gallon fill-up.

However, some of the online calculators want you to include depreciation on your vehicle.

Some calculators allow you to come up with an estimate while others default to 30-cents a mile. Then there’s the value of your time. One calculator defaults to $25 an hour.

When you include that information, the savings on our 2.6-mile trip drops to $2.72.

Now, let’s stretch the distance between the two stations to 10-miles. In that situation, your savings drops to 22-cents. If the distance is 11-miles, you lose money.

Different vehicles or different prices will bring you different results.



Before You Leave, Check This Out