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Driving For Bargains on Gas

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Back when the price of gas was topping $4 a gallon, drivers hunting down bargains were willing to drive some distance to save a few cents a gallon.

Back when the price of gas was topping $4 a gallon, drivers hunting down bargains were willing to drive some distance to save a few cents a gallon. Now that gas prices have dropped to less than half of what they were this summer, the urge to drive to a bargain has faded somewhat. The reality, however, is that cheaper gas may give drivers a better reason to shop for a bargain on gas.

That sounds counterintuitive, but it helps if you realize that saving money on gas is not just a question of price per gallon. There are other factors involved, including how far you have to drive to get the cheaper gas, the capacity of your gas tank, your car’s gas mileage, and how much lower the gas price is. In other words, if Harry’s Garage is selling gas for nickel a gallon less than Joe’s, is it worth it to drive the extra three miles to Harry’s to buy 12 gallons of gas in a car that gets 20 miles per gallon?

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Doing the math can be daunting and may not seem worth the effort, but now Bankrate.com has made the task much easier with its “cheaper gas” calculator. Just go to http://www.bankrate.com/brm/calc/gasPrice.asp and plug in the price of gas at two gas stations, the difference in distance between them, along with your car’s tank capacity and MPG. The site will then tell you instantly whether the cheaper gas is worth the trip.


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