How Much Fuel is My Car Really Using?

old gas pump

There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who make it a habit to get gas when there’s a quarter tank left and those who wait until the gas light comes on to start looking for a place to fuel up. No matter which one you are, filling up the tank is an inevitable part of car ownership.

Yet, sometimes, it can feel like you’re putting gas into your car a little too frequently and you may wonder exactly how fast your car is going through gas⁠—and how much it’s all costing you. You also may be looking at fuel consumption if you’re in the process of buying a car and trying to narrow down your options.

Here’s some information to help you better understand what comes along with filling up your car, including costs and alternatives, as well as how to calculate your own fuel consumption and costs with an online fuel consumption calculator and a fuel cost calculator.

The Problem with Gasoline Cars

Gasoline cars may be a popular and familiar option when it comes to transportation, but they aren’t free from concerns. Burning gasoline creates carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and carbon dioxide, which can lead to air pollution and contribute to global warming. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has even put in place rules to regulate gasoline and emissions like with the Clean Air Act to reduce air pollution.

While it’s normal not to think twice about what’s going on with the fuel in your car, it’s important to remember that there are some real environmental impacts from driving a gasoline car.

The Fuel Costs of Owning or Leasing a Car

According to the 2018 Consumer Expenditures report released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2019, the average expenditure on gasoline, other fuels, and motor oil for a year is $2,109. Of course, this amount will vary depending on what kind of car you have, how far/often you’re driving, and how much gas is in your area.

If you want to research gas prices further to work out your fuel costs, AAA has a map and chart that lists the national average price of gas on that day along with average gas prices based on state and fuel type.

How Much Am I Spending on Gas?

To easily calculate how much you’re spending on gas, you can use GIGA Calculator’s fuel cost calculator. Plug in a travel distance, the fuel consumption of your car (how many miles per gallon it gets), and then a price per gallon (whatever the average in your area is at the time works). You’ll then see not only how much gas is needed for your trip but also how much it will cost.

If you’re not sure of your vehicle’s fuel consumption, there’s another easy-to-use online calculator for you: a fuel consumption calculator. Just input your distance traveled and fuel spent to get a fuel consumption amount.

Being able to see a specific price on your gas consumption and driving and to put an exact number to how many gallons your car is guzzling up, could push you to make different decisions about where you choose to drive. It can also help you determine how much to set aside in your budget for fuel, whether that’s on a monthly basis for your daily commute or for a specific road trip that’s coming up.

man driving car steering wheel

Cars That are Good/Bad on Gas

Along with appearance and safety rating, gas consumption is a common factor people use to determine which car they want to buy. If you’re in the market for a new vehicle and are concerned about fuel consumption, here are the cars you should check out as well as the ones you’ll want to steer clear from based on 2019 rankings by Consumer Reports.

Cars Good on Gas:

  • BMW i3 Giga
  • Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid
  • Honda Accord Hybrid EX
  • Mitsubishi Mirage ES
  • Nissan Maxima
  • Toyota Avalon Hybrid XLE
  • Toyota Camry Hybrid LE
  • Toyota Corolla LE Hybrid
  • Toyota Prius Prime
  • Toyota RAV4 Hybrid XLE

Cars Bad on Gas:

  • Dodge Grand Caravan GT
  • Fiat 500L Easy
  • Ford Mustang GT Premium (V8)
  • Genesis G90 Premium (3.3T, AWD)
  • Hyundai Elantra GT
  • Kia Soul Plus
  • Mercedes-Benz S550 (AWD)
  • Mini Clubman (3-cyl.)
  • Nissan Armada
  • Volkswagen Golf Alltrack SE

Other Alternatives to a Gas Car to Save Money

Depending on where you live and how you grew up, you may feel like having a gas car is your only option. But, there are alternatives out there to help you save money if your fuel consumption and fuel cost calculations show above average numbers. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, driving an electric vehicle costs about half as much as driving a vehicle that runs on gasoline. Yes, there are both pros and cons with electric cars, the initial expense of purchasing an electric car being a notable con. Keep in mind, though, that making this investment could save you more money in the long run.

If owning an electric car is not in the cards for you, you could take other steps to cut costs associated with operating a gas car. For example, you can carpool to work more often to split gas costs. You can also look into using public transportation or riding a bike to get to where you need to go.

How well your car consumes fuel will have a direct impact on how much you end up shelling out for gas. To figure out both, use online fuel consumption and fuel cost calculators so you can plan your travels, car purchases, and budget accordingly.

This entry was posted in Lifestyle, Money, Travel and tagged , , , . By Cindy Brzostowski