How Much Gasoline Will We Use On Our Vacation: To The Condo Estimates

With all of the talk about high gasoline prices, I thought that it might be interesting to track how much gasoline we will use while on vacation.

To The Condo Estimates: Distance And Speeds

Distance between our house and the condo (one way) = 287 miles

Travel speeds between our house and the condo (average) = 60-80 mph

Most of the trip (276 miles of it) will be spent driving on the interstate. 11 miles of the trip will be on standard highways and roads. For calculations sake, I’ll assume an average speed of 70 mph.

To The Condo Estimates: Travel Time

Time between our house and the condo (one way) = 287 miles / 70 mph = 4 hours and 6 minutes

Time spent stopping to eat lunch and take breaks for the kids = 1 hour

Total estimated travel time = 5 hours and 6 minutes

To The Estimates Estimates: Gasoline Usage

Average miles per gallon of gasoline = 21 mpg

Our van has a digital gauge which measures, among other things, miles per gallon and miles left until tank is empty. Tomorrow, I’ll fill up and make a note of how much I put into the 20 gallon tank. Over the past two weeks, the van has averaged 21.4 mpg. During the trip, our family of five, plus all of our luggage and stuff for the new baby will be packed into the van, so I’m assuming that the average miles per gallon will decrease, at least a little.

Gallons of gas used = 287 miles / 21 mpg = 13.66 gallons of gasoline

Cost of a gallon of gasoline = $3.80

Estimated gasoline cost to go to the condominiums = 13.66 gallons = $51.91

I’m a pretty average driver. I like to hit the interstate, set my cruise control on about 75 and just ride. Today, I changed the oil in the van, checked the tires, and changed the air filter. The back of the van will be loaded down with our suit cases and a small cargo bag will ride on top of the van. Once we arrive and get settled, I’ll let you know if I did a good job of estimating our travel time, the amount of gasoline we used, and the cost of gas.

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6 thoughts on “How Much Gasoline Will We Use On Our Vacation: To The Condo Estimates

  1. I can relate to the speed you’re driving, especially on interstates, even if it might not be strictly legal. I was wondering, though, if you think mileage would go up appreciably if you slowed down. You often hear about these gov’t estimates that talk about better mileage at slower speeds which, if memory serves, if the reason the lowered the limit to 55 mph (and then re-adjusted after they realized no one would drive that slowly)

  2. @Ken I’m sure that it would improve if I went that slow – but we might get killed if we went 55 on the interstate! 🙂 I wanted folks to get an idea of ‘real world’ driving, so I’ll bump around between 65 and 80, depending on traffic, need to pass others, etc.

  3. I used a lot more traveling around Colorado and New Mexico but it was great. White Sands National Park, Carlsbad Caverns National Park… wonderful

  4. Slowing down DOES make a HUGE difference in fuel mileage. Especially in a van or other big vehicle. Once you go over 60 MPH, wind resistance increases by almost 4 times as much as it does just going from 50 MPH to 60 MPH and the faster you go, the more pronounced the effect. In a few trial runs myself to improve fuel mileage in these times of outrageous gas prices, By slowing down to about 55 MPH, being very conservative with the throttle and using other “hypermiling” techniques, I have boosted my fuel mileage on the highway from about 30MPG (I used to be an 80-85MPH guy) to the mid to upper 40’s on average. At times I have been able to squeeze 70+ MPG for as much as a mile or two at a time if traffic and topographic conditions allow (downhills). Another tip. The grade of fuel you choose can also affect your mileage as well. for the maximum distance out of a tank of fuel (everything else being equal) use the lowest octane rating you can run on (almost everything can support 87 octane fuel except some extremely older vehicles or high performance vehicles). The improvement isnt much but over an extremely long distance trip the mileage gain will add up. (for more tips on how to save fuel through driving technique, check out Wayne Gerdes Hypermiling website Most of the tips are EXTREME but there are several that are easy for anyone to do that do help with the mileage. and increase gas mileage = money saved)

  5. I agree with the advice to slow down and highly recommend it. If I can do 55 in a 65 on interstates in New Jersey to save money, you can do it in Georgia!

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