CostToDrive: An awesome new tool for planning road trips
Dec 03, 2008

Later this month Jessi and I are going on a 2,500+ mile road trip. We'll be spending Christmas in Florida with some of Jessi's family and new years in Georgia with some friends of ours. Why on Earth would we spend so much time on the road (the long legs are approximately 17 hours of driving each) when we could just hop a jet and be there in a couple hours? Well, it's saving us a ton of money, and since it's a longer trip the amount of time driving really isn't that significant. How much money is this saving us, you might ask? Well, when I was initially planning this out I just used Google maps to figure out the distance, divided by MPG our car gets (mid 30s on the highway, it's an '06 Mazda 3), then multiplied by what I figured would be a realistic price of gas in December. At the time (this was a few months ago) I figured that $5/gal would be reasonable, and the cost came out to around $350. It would cost that much just for us to fly one way from Boston to Florida, not to mention a multi-city itinerary and the additional costs of having to get from the airport to wherever we were going. Now, however, I've discovered an awesome new website: CostToDrive.com. It basically takes care of all that for you, and with up to date information. So I just entered our starting and ending point, and what kind of car we're driving (currently it doesn't handle multi-destination trips, but I've apparently still retained some basic arithmetic skills). Not only does it you an estimate of how much the trip will cost, but it actually gives you driving directions that include the specific gas stations you should go to in order to get the best price. How awesome is that? Apparently, at current prices, it will cost us $59.01 to drive from Somerville to Amelia Island at an average cost per gallon of $1.73, $20.79 to drive from Amelia Island to Athens Georgia at $1.82/gal., and $56.80 to drive from Athens back to Somerville at $1.54/gal. (Seriously? When I first got my car in '99 it cost me $1.75/gal. to fill up in Oakland, CA!) So all in all the trip should cost right around $140 (assuming current gas prices, but who knows what will really happen there). Not bad! Definitely not worth my money to fly.
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