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We consume 96.5 million barrels of oil a day worldwide, and the majority of that oil becomes gasoline for your car.

You can keep your gas costs down by using our gas calculator and tracking gas prices. With a few simple details, this tool can help you budget for your next trip. Then, you can take steps to increase your fuel economy.

Read the FAQ below to find out why it costs what it does and to find simple ways to increase your vehicle's fuel efficiency. If you find this page useful, save it to the home screen of your smartphone for quick access.


What can a gas calculator tell me?

Cost of Transportation

A gas calculator can help you with your monthly transportation budget. Using it allows you to predict how much money you spend each month on gas, commuting, and running errands.

Trip Planning

If you are planning a trip, a gas calculator can help you save. You can figure out how much it will cost to make the drive.

Fuel Efficiency Efforts

Use the calculator to determine if your fuel efficiency efforts are effective. If you are trying to save money on gas, a calculator will help you track your savings.

Engine Problems

Knowing your true mpg can give you insight into any problems with your car. Let's say you know your driving usually gets your 18 mpg.

But lately, you are getting only 7-10 miles per gallon. This is a sign that there is something wrong with your engine.

How do I calculate the cost of gas for a trip?

To calculate your gas consumption for a trip you need to know your vehicle's fuel efficiency. If you do not know your vehicle's fuel efficiency you can look it up in your user manual.

Take the total miles of your trip and divide it by your vehicle's MPG. This is how many gallons of gas you need for the trip.

Then multiply this number by the cost of gas. This will tell you how much it will cost to drive the distance.

What determines the price of gas?

The major factor in determining the price of gas is the crude oil cost. The other factors include refining, distribution, marketing, and taxes.


The cheapest gas sold is closest to the production location. The further the gas travels, the higher the distribution cost.


Things like weather effect the cost. Mild temperatures and weather events mean lower prices. The more extreme the weather becomes, the higher the price.


International politics can cause the oil supply around the world to go wonky. Many countries depend on oil from countries with less than stable governments.

Exchange rates also affect the price. Those countries with a strong currency pay more for their fuel.

Futures and hedging can affect the price of oil. Futures are agreements to buy a certain amount of oil on a particular date in the future. Hedging means a purposeful delay in purchasing oil.


High demand in certain areas of the world will cause shortages in other areas. This drives the price up and down based on the level of supply and demand.

Refining Costs

When you go to the pump you see three or so different choices for gas. Depending on which one you pick, you pay a different price.

The different options come from the same crude oil. They have the same distribution and marketing. The difference is the refining cost.

How can I improve my fuel efficiency?

You can improve your fuel efficiency by making adjustments to your car and driving. This two-prong approach will get you the most out of your gas.

Vehicle Adjustments

Only use the fuel type the manufacturer recommends. Secure the fuel cap completely when you fuel up. Inflate the tires to the right amount.

These things will get your car to operate as the manufacturer intended. Then look at the amount of weight you are carrying around.

Remove excess weight as this will put more strain on your engine. Replace your air filter as needed. This too will strain your engine.

Adjust Your Driving

First and most importantly, go easy on the gas. Those with a heavy foot consume a lot of gas.

While driving, avoid idling for long. This is using gas and you aren't going anywhere.

Drive in the highest gear you can without putting extra stress on the engine. The highest gear possible for your speed reduces the strain on the engine.

Plan Your Trip

First plan your trip and all the stops you need to make. This reduces the amount of commuting you do.

Plan to fill your tank up first thing in the morning. Temperatures are cooler then and that makes gas denser.

As the fuel flows through the pump you are getting up to 2.5% more gas by volume. This doesn't sound like a lot but could save you $10 a month.

Plan to fill up at locations with the lowest price. Online resources like the gas buddy map let you look up the gas prices near you.

Final thoughts?

Remember that loading down your vehicle with heavy luggage will reduce your economy. You can somewhat combat this by tracking gas prices and filling up early in the morning.

Using online resources can help you plan when and where to buy your gas. This lets you leverage the fluctuating market prices to your advantage.

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