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How far should I drive to save on gas?

TBO.com The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 11:03 AM

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Q. How far out of your way should you drive to save on gas?

A. That depends on quite a few factors: your car's mileage, how much gas you're buying, the price today and distance between stations.

Whew.

But we played with Excel spreadsheets for a while, and have some answers.

Let's say one station is 5 cents a gallon cheaper than another. That's pretty common. And you need 10 gallons. Sorry, but there's only a 50-cent difference on that tank. Just 50 cents. Total.

If you drive a car that gets 28 mpg in the city (that's pretty good), at today's prices of about $3.50 a gallon, it costs you 13 cents to drive a mile.

Your break-even point for that 5-cents-cheaper gasoline is just four miles. From Raymond James Stadium to Channelside is about six miles. Don't drive any further to save a nickel per gallon.

Here are some other nickel/break-even points at $3.50 a gallon. Any further, and you're losing money trying to save money.

•10 mpg: About one mile

•14 mpg: 2 miles

•21 mpg: 3 miles

•28 mpg: 4 miles

•35 mpg: 5 miles

•40 mpg: 6.5 miles (Good for those Prius owners out there.)

Submit your question here or visit our Gas Prices page and retail writer Richard Mullins will get you the answer.

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